While skimming my morning reading, I came across two disturbing passages, courtesy of Duncan Black.
First, he quotes CNN’s Barbara Starr as saying:
What is very interesting is several days later now nobody is criticizing the
soldier. He made a valid point but there’s no real evidence yet that anyone has
demonstrated soldiers are going through landfills finding scrap metal and bits
of glass to bolt onto their vehicles. So, you know, truth always lies, as we
know as reporters, always lies somewhere in between what everybody is out there
Then he quotes one Joe Richardson, who wrote to Editor & Publisher:
Joe M. Richardson: "The duped soldier should be put at the very front of the
action, no armor. The cooperating sergeant’s career should be over and maybe
become MIA. Pitts and all his cronies should be executed as traitors. We are
fighting a war, the debate is over, you’re either for us or against us, there is
no middle ground. I say start executing the leftists in our country, soon."
If you’re wondering how we got here, and where we might be heading, those two passages are as good as any. To the first: Lady, you don’t know jack ’bout what you’re babbling about. How do I know? Because I used "hillbilly armor" my own darn self! We used scrap iron as doors and passenger cages for our softskinned HMMWVs when I was in the Balad area. And I was attached to one of the infantry battalions of the 4th ID. The vast majority of HMMWVs in the Army are unarmored, so the threat–and unavailability of armor and other resources, for that matter–made the usage of scrap iron for protecting ourselves imperative. For Barb Starr to say that there’s no evidence of what SPC Wilson spoke about is both surpassingly lazy and disgustingly moronic–all she has to do is call up any soldier who’s served over there, and they’ll tell you the same thing. And if the Regular Army (read: active-duty forces) is using scrap iron, then you know for sure that the Reserve/National Guard forces (who are far less well-funded, the NG in particular being dependent on state, not federal, funds for its operation) is doing so as well.
But it’s this laziness in reporting by the media which has allowed this Administration in general, and the Pentagon’s civilian leadership in particular, to skate on blithely, and avoid taking any responsibility. CNN is one of the biggest offenders, but you can look to most any other organization and apportion a fair share of blame too. Why actually be a journalist, do the hard work of reporting, researching, and investigating like Tom Ricks, Eric Schmitt, the gang at Knight/Ridder, et al, when you can just kick back in an air-conditioned briefing room, take your pre-formatted talking points as docilely as any lapdog? Folks like Barb Starr give real journalists an awful name.
And while we’re at it, it’s folks like Barb Starr that allow dunces like Joe Richardson to believe that if only we got rid of the facts, then everything would just be peachy. Say what you will about CNN and MSNBC–in a rational world, I wouldn’t be complaining about them. Why? Because in a rational world, we wouldn’t have a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GOP masquerading as a news network. I speak of course of FOX News, which has whored itself cheerfully in the service of the GOP agenda. In a rational world, journalists would pillory the FNC as the propaganda medium it really is, and we would give it the same level of credibility as we give to, say, The Fortean Times.
But, no. Instead, one huge chunk of the population, feeling angry and bereft that the facts are biased against their beloved worldview, chooses to tune in to a channel which dismisses said facts. The other networks, in thrall to ratings, seek to compensate by gradually ignoring said facts, in order to compete. Thus, we get "reporters" like Barb Starr.
As for ol’ Joe: nothing that you say to someone like him will change his mind. What I’m afraid of is that there are many, many more like him, that they’re the ones driving the debate, and that we won’t be able to unhorse them until this noble, great, beloved country of mine lies in ruins–and even then, they’ll be so congenitally unable to accept responsibility that they’ll be looking for blame everywhere except where it lies–in themselves.