OK

What a crock of shit from John Leo.
It's official. Conservatives no longer have a monopoly on complaints about a liberal media bias. In the wake of Newsweek's bungled report that U.S. military interrogators "flushed a Koran down a toilet," here is Terry Moran, ABC's White House reporter, in an interview with radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt: "There is, I agree with you, a deep anti-military bias in the media ..."

In all my years in journalism, I don't think I have met more than one or two reporters who have ever served in the military or who even had a friend in the armed forces. Most media hiring today is from universities, where a military career is regarded as bizarre and almost any exercise of American power is considered wrongheaded or evil.

Instead of trampling Newsweek - the magazine made a mistake and corrected it quickly and honestly - the focus ought to be on whether the news media are predisposed to make certain kinds of mistakes and, if so, what to do about it. The disdain that so many reporters have for the military (or for police, the FBI, conservative Christians, or right-to-lifers) frames the way errors and bogus stories tend to occur. The anti-military mentality makes atrocity stories easier to publish, even when they are untrue.

Steve Gilliard gives Moran (email) and Leo (email) one of his patented smackdowns.
Terry Moran sits in Washington every day while his collegues run around and risk getting killed by the Iraqi resistance and US Army. And the Army shooting you is a lot better than having your head chopped off. Which is a daily risk. Daily as in when you wake up in the morning, going to bed at night is a gift. A Washington Post reporter left an Amtrac minutes before four Marines were killed and 10 wounded. The last time I remember Moran talking, he was shitting his pants about the Washington sniper a couple of years ago. I think it's a gross insult to say reporters have a bias against the US military.

Now, by repeating this lie, elicited by the cockgobbler Hewitt, Moran shgould rightfully be shunned by he collegues.

Leo must be uncurious, because the newspaper business has a number of vets working for it. About the same as any other industry, and a lot less than GOP Hill Rats [...]

The idea that the chickenhawks have to hide behind is that someone is lying about Iraq and Afghanistan and they aren't. The truth is ugly, but cowards like Moran and Leo, people who sit at desk and smear the incredibly hard and brave work of their peers should be regarded as uncutuous liars and scoundrels.

I would argue that the US press has bent over backwards to protect the military from their failures. The only good part is when the press reports on the abuse of soldiers, but no one could think getting a kid a place to live after nearly dying in Iraq is anti-military. Unless you're a member of the Beltway Kool Kids Klub.

Anti-military bias? Right. The reality on the ground in Iraq may be anti-neocon and anti-Pentagon leadership, but it's not "anti-military". What's anti-military is a war that has devastated our armed forces, turning them into hollow forces. Short on manpower, short on equipment, and short on tangible successes.

And the treatment our vets are getting after their service terms are over? Quite anti-military as well.

As fellow veteran and conservative John Cole said:

And that is what is most disturbing about the short-sighted and indefensible position of the 'uber-patriots.' Put aside the demagoguery, the denial, and the smears. Put aside the wishful thinking, the demonization of the media, and the claims that anyone who is outraged by this abuse is un-American, anti-military, or out to get the President (which I am decidedly not). Instead, spend 1/10th of the energy you spend defending the status quo and urge the Republicans to use our majority status and the trappings of power we now enjoy with the control of Congress and the Presidency, and stop the torture and abuse. Do that, and your critics won't have anything to complain about [...]

Maybe it would be best to ask the soldiers. Would they rather labor in harm's way with the rest of the world suspecting the worst of them, or would they rather there be a clear and open prosecution of those who ARE the worst of them? Which do you think they would prefer? Which approach makes their lives more dangerous and more difficult? Whose approach to this problem is going to create more IED's, suicide attacks, and bombings?

To Hewitt and Terry Moran and John Leo, "anti-military" is an ideological tool to silence truthful reporting from the war zones. The truth, it seems, has driven people to oppose the war in greater numbers, hence it must be supressed. Regardless of whether it truly helps our troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Update: Unqualified Offerings, a libertarian blog, has some thoughts. And John Cole takes on Hewitt's latest idiocy:

I submit that Hugh has overstated the case against the media, and continues to:
...the remedy is in scrutiny of every antimilitary/anti-Christian/anti-police story that appears. Many are necessary and accurate exercises in reporting, but many are not. For years those stories in the latter category went unrebuked. The blogosphere has ended the free pass system for axe-grinding in print. And that's a very good thing.
Why scrutinize what you have already determined is antimilitary, anti-Christian/anti-police? What else am I to conclude than that Hugh means any news story that discusses or critically examines the military makes it, by nature, anti-military? [...]

Likewise, I still contend that if Hugh manages to convince enough people that the NY Times piece on torture should be ignored because it is just another salvo in an anti-military barrage, he is actually hurting the people he intends to defend. Not reporting on these issues, and letting them fester and letting rumors run rampant and letting large portions of Arab and Muslim populations believe that we condone torture and continue to engage in it will be far more deadly than anything the media can do with a few shoddy pieces here and there.

Problem is, Hewitt isn't interested in protecting the troops. He's interested in protecting his party's and his president's investment in the war.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed May 25, 2005 at 09:34 AM PDT.

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