Monday, October 15, 2007

Top Newspaper's Journalists Praised: Blackout Imposed on Praise

The news media blackout of General Sanchez' criticism of the news media got more interesting for me today. I discovered that that a major and (so far) well-respected newspaper employs two of the four journalists praised by the retired general. Normally, I'd think that being singled out like that would be an occasion for some well-bred bragging.

Thanks to The QandO Blog / Free Markets, Free People, a blog I ran across during research. QandO's October 13 post made me aware of a transcript of General Sanchez' remarks last week. QandO's Friday post began with these paragraphs:

"The New York Times reports that LTG Ricardo S. Sanchez, one of the former commander's in Iraq, faults the Bush administration handling of the war as 'incompetent' and 'warned that the United States was "living a nightmare with no end in sight."'

"Question: does this come as a suprise to anyone? Is there anyone left out there that is claiming this war has been competently fought since the beginning? In fact, as I recall, Petraeus, et. al., have been saying that we almost lost it in 2006."

The QandO Bolg goes on to discuss, among other things, how The New York Times and other mainstream, traditional, media, pounced on Sanchez' disapproval of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq: and utterly ignored Sanchez' massive indictment of mainstream media's pursuit of an agenda at the expense of American soldiers' lives.

Not that General Sanchez thinks poorly of all journalists. He named four that he thinks are doing a good job:Notice that two of the four journalists on General Sanchez' 'approved' list work for the New York Times. And one of those won two Pulitzer Prizes.

I would expect The New York Times, at least, to jump at this chance to point out how superior their stable of journalists was, at least in the eyes of the famous and now-perceptive General Sanchez.

The New York Times didn't. In common with the rest of the old-school news media, The New York Times decided that General Sanchez's indictment of news media didn't fall under the newspaper's definition of "All the News That’s Fit to Print."

The Military Reporters and Editors / The Official Association of Military Journalists has a transcript of General Sanchez's remarks.

Here's an excerpt. The original is in all caps. To make it more readable, I converted it to cap/lowercase. Other than that, this paragraph is unchanged. I recommend reading the entire transcript. General Sanchez discusses quite a bit in addition to what appears in this paragraph.

"Today, I will attempt to do two things - First I will give you my assessment of the military and press relationship and then I will provide you some thoughts on the current state of our war effort. As all of you know I have a wide range of relationships and experiences with our nations military writers and editors. There are some in your ranks who I consider to be the epitome of journalistic professionalism - Joe Galloway, Thom Shanker, Sig Christensen, and John Burns immediately come to mind. They exemplify what America should demand of our journalists - tough reporting that relies upon integrity, objectivity and fairness to give accurate and thorough accounts that strenghten our freedom of the press and in turn our democracy. On the other hand, unfortunately, I have issued ultimatums to some of you for unscrupulous reporting that was solely focused on supporting your agenda and preconceived notions of what our military had done. I also refused to talk to the European Stars and Stripes for the last two years of my command in Germany for their extreme bias and single minded focus on Abu Gharaib."

Finally, it's nice to hear from others in the blogosphere. The author of American was kind enough to leave a couple of comments recently, one of them in reference to General Sanchez and the news media.

Another post on General Sanchez, Iraq-as-nightmare, and journalistic behavior: "'All the News We Want to Print:' Iraq War Reality Check Missed"

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.