February 1, 2008:
One story the American mass media won't touch
is the impact of inaccurate and biased war reporting on the troops. Unlike in past
wars, the troops are able to keep up on the news back home. With web access,
and email from home, inaccurate and hateful reporting on the military reaches
the troops quickly. This has had some interesting results. Aside from creating
several million troops and veterans who now no longer trust mainstream media
military reporting, it's made the job of reporters harder. New reporters have
come to expect that whatever inaccurate military reporting they have done in
the past, will be quickly known by any troops they interview. You can't hide
Troops believe that some of the worst
offenders don't even venture out of their offices anymore. A reporter with a
reputation, and track record, for honesty in reporting, has a much easier time
getting stories. But even these reporters are at the mercy of their editors.
Some of the bad rep some reporters carry around isn't because of their
reporting, but because of the way editors back home spun the story in order to
get the angle they wanted. Reporters don't like this, and the troops have a
hard time believing it, but it's a fact of life for any reporter.
The troops know the war has become less
a military conflict, and more a political football back home, but they wish the
politicians would try harder not to blame the people doing the fighting. The
troops were particularly vexed at how Democrat politicians proclaimed the war
"lost" last Fall, just as the soldiers and marines were finally winning it.
Long term, the mass media is going to have a hard time winning back any trust
and support among the people who fight the wars. A deep hole has been dug, and
it won't be easy to climb out of.