Retired General Sanchez Blasts Press — No One Reports It, Natch!

Posted By: 'Okie' | 1:44 pm — 10/14/2007 | 3 Comments See comments below:

I saw the headline, “Former U.S. Iraq chief: mission ‘nightmare with no end in sight'”, in yesterday’s dead tree edition of the LA Times, and probably just do to Lefty-bias-overload from that rag I didn’t even bother to read the story. Which is just as well because our local cat-box liner of a newspaper followed the lead of the AP and WaPo by fixating on the criticisms that retired General Ricardo S. Sanchez leveled at the “press-reviled” BushCo, completely ignoring the larger, more damaging, to the press anyway, verbal vivisection of the mainstream-media’s behavior and actions concerning the Iraq War that the good general gave to his audience at the Military Reporters and Editors’ annual conference in Arlington, Va. on Friday. [h/t: Hugh Hewitt]

Given the near instantaneous ability to report actions on the ground, the responsibility to accurately and truthfully report takes on an unprecedented importance. The speculative and often uninformed initial reporting that characterizes our media appears to be rapidly becoming the standard of the industry. An Arab proverb states – “Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past, the neglected opportunity.” Once reported, your assessments become conventional wisdom and nearly impossible to change. Other major challenges are your willingness to be manipulated by “high level officials” who leak stories and by lawyers who use hyperbole to strengthen their arguments. Your unwillingness to accurately and prominently correct your mistakes and your agenda driven biases contribute to this corrosive environment. All of these challenges combined create a media environment that does a tremendous disservice to America.
{…}
All are victims of the massive agenda driven competition for economic or political supremacy. The death knell of your ethics has been enabled by your parent organizations who have chosen to align themselves with political agendas. What is clear to me is that you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war.

My assessment is that your profession, to some extent, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to manipulate what the American public sees on TV, what they read in our newspapers and what they see on the web. For some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases and agendas.

It is astounding to me when I hear the vehement disagreement with the military’s forays into information operations that seek to disseminate the truth and inform the Iraqi people in order to counter our enemy’s blatant propaganda. As I assess various media entities, some are unquestionably engaged in political propaganda that is uncontrolled. There is no question in my mind that the strength our democracy and our freedoms remain linked to your ability to exercise freedom of the press – I adamantly support this basic foundation of our democracy and completely supported the embedding of media into our formations up until my last day in uniform. The issue is one of maintaining professional ethics and standards from within your institution. Military leaders must accept that these injustices will happen and whether they like what you print or not they must deal with you and enable you, if you are an ethical journalist. [Emph. mine]

Ah, gee. Good ol’ WaPo and the LAT must have some how missed those comments, however their ears sure perked up over ones like these:

“From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan to the administration’s latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ and synchronize its political, economic and military power[.]”

Regarding the troop increase:

“[A] desperate attempt by the administration that has not accepted the political and economic realities of this war.”

And, about how the mission is going:

“There is nothing going on today in Washington that would give us hope[.]”

They sure didn’t miss giving us those. However, the good General also said:

“The American military finds itself in an intractable situation … America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq[.]”

Take that all you cut-&-runners!

Over at the Canada Free Press, Bob Parks, Senior Writer with the New Media Journal and VP of the Massachusetts Republican Assembly, takes a stab at interpreting what the General actually meant, phrase by phrase. Here’s a taste:

[General Sanchez] ALMOST INVARIABLY, MY PERCEPTION IS THAT THE SENSATIONALISTIC VALUE OF THESE ASSESSMENTS IS WHAT PROVIDED THE EDGE THAT YOU SEEK FOR SELF AGRANDIZEMENT OR TO ADVANCE YOUR INDIVIDUAL QUEST FOR GETTING ON THE FRONT PAGE WITH YOUR STORIES! AS I UNDERSTAND IT, YOUR MEASURE OF WORTH IS HOW MANY FRONT PAGE STORIES YOU HAVE WRITTEN AND UNFORTUNATELY SOME OF YOU WILL COMPROMISE YOUR INTEGRITY AND DISPLAY QUESTIONABLE ETHICS AS YOU SEEK TO KEEP AMERICA INFORMED.

[Parks] In other words, as we’re talking about liberals, it’s all about them. It’s all about what they want the story to be. Please remember people; journalists are just supposed to report the news. They’re just supposed to tell you what happened. Not analyze, and certainly and purposefully not add or omit things that will shape your impression of the events.

Sanchez is merely reminding these journalists and editors how to do their jobs, and he’s right on the money.

Oh, and BTW — Patterico has a post today about one of the LA Times’ political bloggers that the LAT “censored” by removing one of his posts entirely for 30 hours, then put a shortened version of it back up after Patrick brought attention to the situation, but then “redacted” the blogger’s arguments about “censorship” in both the post and insets in the comments to the post that the blogger had used to answer questions and criticisms. Did the LAT give any explanation as to why the editors felt it was necessary to do all this? I’ll give you one guess — Yep! You got that right . . .

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This entry was posted on Sunday, October 14th, 2007 at 1:44 pm and is filed under Fever Swamp Madness, Iraq War, Media Doin' It Wrong. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.  |  Print This Post Print This Post  |  Email This Post Email This Post

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