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US media cowed by patriotic fever
May 17, 2002 1:22 AM   Subscribe

US media cowed by patriotic fever claims Dan Rather. As a non-American, I have no idea what news broadcasts have been like in America since September 11th. Is Rather correct?
posted by salmacis (54 comments total)

 
US cows still ruminating over it.

I, too, have no idea, but I wouldn't be surprised. Television news is just entertainment. Does anyone out there watch American television news? You're all sleeping, right?
posted by pracowity at 1:53 AM on May 17, 2002


Most of us 'merkins are smart enough to know where to find the REAL, unbiased news.

*goes back to watching the 5am repeat of full house*
posted by Fahrenheit at 2:08 AM on May 17, 2002


I think Rather is right, I also think he's a bit late with this. Would have meant more closer to 9/11.
I'm an American, I mostly watch the BBC world service and listen to NPR, which seems free of the need to pander in this way.
posted by dong_resin at 2:19 AM on May 17, 2002


I mostly watch the BBC world service and listen to NPR, which seems free of the need to pander in this way.

I weep for you, my friend.

I'm always curious what exactly people think we're missing on the news. What did the 'evil' dark cloud of patriotism cover up? What angle hasn't been covered? What dark secrets do the BBC hold that have been swept under the carpet by the gun totin' Amurrican news machine (discounting the saints at NPR, of course)? When people accuse the media of being biased, they usually mean that it is biased in the opposite direction from themselves.

Mr. Rather just seems to be doing his man of the people routine again. I like the British designation for TV anchors: newsreaders. It removes all the pretenses that the TV news guys are journalists. Anyone who takes any news in any media, especially television, as complete truth is fooling themselves.
posted by evanizer at 3:05 AM on May 17, 2002


Dry your eyes. I was only referring to the network on-the-sleeve patriotism, which I don't see happening on either NPR or BBC. I never said they were saints. They have their own flaws, but not pertinent to what's being discussed here.

As for what such patriotism causes you to miss, any reporting afraid of running afoul of what the mainstream is comfortable with is great, if you only want to see things from that one narrow perspective.
posted by dong_resin at 3:36 AM on May 17, 2002


I agree that Dan is probably just doing the man of the people thing again. Guys like him and the displays they're prone to is generally what I'm trying to avoid by missing larger network news.
posted by dong_resin at 3:39 AM on May 17, 2002


In the US, I would also listen to NPR and the BBC, and probably the CBC if I were close to the border. There is little good local US news, broadcast or print. National news is best looked at from the least commercial standpoint you can find, and NPR is fairly good in that way. US international news is always US national news from a slightly different perspective; you have to listen to other international news shows to get a better perspective of how your country fits into and is just one part of the rest of the world.

Rather, who would know better than most, says: "There has never been an American war, small or large, in which access has been so limited as this one." If access is especially limited and most US reporters are trying hard to be seen as hundred-percenters and please sponsors, you're probably going to get better coverage from foreign and non-commercial sources. You can still watch McNews, but you're better off also watching other points of view.

No one takes any news in any media, especially television, as complete truth. It's a matter of balancing your news diet. You'll never be healthy on a diet of Fox meat.
posted by pracowity at 3:46 AM on May 17, 2002


I've been doing a media monitoring job recently, which involves listening to reports on different TV and radio channels throughout the day. I hear the same stories time after time and in the majority of cases, they're given the same priority by the news programmes and are usually approached from the same angle. The angle seems to be decided by whichever pressure group is shouting loudest at the time.

The same pundits are trotted out, the same questions are asked and the same answers are given. On the day of the Byers scandal (sorry to non UK people who don't know who the fuck he is), a conservative MP called him a miserable wretch on every single news bulletin that day.

My point is that TV and radio news aren't the places to get insight. TV news is great when something politically neutral happens, such as a train crash, but useless at interpreting complicated or controversial material. There just isn't the time. Documentaries can do it, but not news.

The agenda is set by news agencies, the govt and interest groups. Even the best news programmes, which IMO are Today and The World at One on Radio 4 and Channel 4 News, are only a cut above because they dig deeper for facts, their correspondents are better informed and they spend more time on obscure subjects with obscure pundits. There's still not much insight there, just a more intelligent relaying of the same old spoon-fed facts.
posted by Summer at 3:54 AM on May 17, 2002


I have been banned from watching the news by the woman of the house. Between the pomposity of the buffoons who think they are some kind of royalty, there constant interjections and infusions of their own opinions, and their total sensationalism of the flavor of the day/week, I can't take it anymore. Hence after an outburst I was ousted from being the remote controller, and have been put on a strict diet of new TV news. Which is fine by me.
NPR is ok at times, All things considered. I just can't take it when they go on one of there little tangents; "today we explore the lonely life of the sole oboe player in the small African country of.... blah blah blah" WTF is this !!!!! Then I commence to push play on CD 1

Having served in the military, I feel only one way about the media. They are parasites who do nothing. They are waiting for you to do something so they can tell everyone else what you did. They are as useful as polititcians.
posted by a3matrix at 4:31 AM on May 17, 2002


What does having served in the military have to do with your views? My dad served in the the military and he isn't some crank. If you think politicians and the media are worthless, aren't you pretty much disgusted with the US on a daily basis as they're two pillars of US society ("pillars" in the holding things up sense, not the paragons sense)?

At the risk of being overly cynical, how much of this is Rather's true feeling and how much is an attempt to divert attention from the Daniel Pearl video CBS aired?
posted by yerfatma at 4:47 AM on May 17, 2002


I saw snippets of the Rather interview when I got home last night, and considering that he was part of the Patriotic Front on Dave Letterman, it was quite the mea culpa. I think there's a growing frustration with the Bush White House's cult of secrecy, capped off by the current leaks, because the year-to-date has established a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy towards valuable information, just in case. Doesn't help when you've got a rah-rah Fox News playing more-patriotic-than-thou on the cable channels.

If Rather and co want to shake things up a bit, they should take reports from the BBC or ITN.

As for the 'newsreader vs. anchor' thing: actually, from what I hear, there's always been a tradition in US network broadcasts for the presenters to play a fairly big role in deciding the running order and the script, which earns them the distinction. That's less common here, except for R4 (of course) and for the really high-q bulletins, such as Jon Snow on Channel 4 News, who basically devotes his entire day to preparing the bulletin.

Having served in the military, I feel only one way about the media. They are parasites who do nothing.

I'm sure Danny Pearl's family will appreciate your sentiments.
posted by riviera at 4:51 AM on May 17, 2002


Serving in the military makes you a target of their stories and you get to see the spin they put on things first hand as you were there for the real story, and see their version of it later on.
Question 2, answer is yes. That you consider them pillars of society makes me sad. If anything they are two examples of gluttony, greed, vanity.... All 7 of them.
The majority of them are self serving and could care less what the actual truth is, just whatever serves their end.
posted by a3matrix at 4:55 AM on May 17, 2002


Not only did the national news agencies tiptoe around controversy (especially when dealing with the Pentagon), they also included those flag-waving transitions into and out of commercials as well as other graphics that pushed beyond objectivity.

However the national news appeared quite banal when compared to the local newscasts, particularly those in Atlanta. Those were more like right-wing PAC propaganda for god, guns and government.
posted by mischief at 5:19 AM on May 17, 2002


I like the British designation for TV anchors: newsreaders. It removes all the pretenses that the TV news guys are journalists.

Dunno about the American newsreaders but the British ones are journalists. There are some with the same kind of status as Rather, such as say Trevor McDonald, who seem to have done nothing else but equally there are those, usually on the BBC, who were doing behind the lines reporting in Kosovo. The role is newsreader, the job is journalist.
posted by vbfg at 5:38 AM on May 17, 2002


Evanizer: I'm always curious what exactly people think we're missing on the news. What did the 'evil' dark cloud of patriotism cover up? What angle hasn't been covered?

Amen, my friend. I'm still waiting for someone on this thread to answer one (or more) of those questions.

From the article about Rather: "And he (Dan Rather) admitted that he had shrunk from taking on the Bush administration over the war on terrorism." Jeez -- sounds like a personal problem to me. Why does he equate his "cowing" with all of "the media." And his claim that NO military conflict has been less open & more secretive than this one -- malarkey. I'd claim the opposite is true -- there is no shortage of information; if anything, it's saturation coverage (especially when guns & missiles are in play).

Again, I have to wonder: what, exactly, is NOT being reported, or otherwise investigated, because Dan & Co. are afraid of having tyres (Britspell!) hung on their necks?
posted by davidmsc at 5:52 AM on May 17, 2002


Summer

I've been doing a media monitoring job recently


Who are you working for Summer? BMC? (I'm "in the business" too...)
posted by bifter at 6:03 AM on May 17, 2002


The US media is cowed by profit motive fever. If that means licking Dubya's boots, no problem. Murdoch may claim to be some great moralizer but his money making programming betrays the underlying truth of anything for a profit.
posted by nofundy at 6:04 AM on May 17, 2002


I can't say Bifter, the terms of my contract don't allow me to. That makes it sound exciting, which it really isn't.
posted by Summer at 6:10 AM on May 17, 2002


That you consider them pillars of society makes me sad.

If you're going to turn this into a brick-tossing match between hired killers and hacks, that's up to you. The 'reality' of a story is all about the perspective you see it from. Deal with that reality.
posted by riviera at 6:13 AM on May 17, 2002


Serving in the military makes you a target of their stories and you get to see the spin they put on things first hand as you were there for the real story, and see their version of it later on.

I don't buy it. My dad had a great story about picking up a phone to find Time magazine on the other end. They wanted to confirm there had been a rocket attack on his base that had destroyed a building.

"Yup," he replied, "A two-holer." He explained to the confused reporter that was an outhouse. The article reported that a vital building had been destroyed. I suppose that's spin, but he always thought it was funny as hell. It doesn't make all journalists shitbirds or The Media a societal ill.
posted by yerfatma at 6:26 AM on May 17, 2002


There are some with the same kind of status as Rather, such as say Trevor McDonald, who seem to have done nothing else...

Rather is practically the definition of "TV journalist". He began as a local reporter in Houston back in the late 50s-early 60s, came to national prominence reporting the JFK assassination, challenged Richard Nixon publicly at a press conference, covered Vietnam on the ground, deepend his journo cred on "60 Minutes", and only then became an "anchormonster". He has been behind the desk too long, and is kind of a shadow of his former self, but do not diss him for not being a "real" journalist.
posted by briank at 6:28 AM on May 17, 2002


nope, just the guardian stirring it perchance?
posted by johnnyboy at 6:32 AM on May 17, 2002


> I'm always curious what exactly people think we're
> missing on the news.

If all news coverage is essentially the same and it doesn't make a difference who covers it, why do rightists continually complain about left-wing media bias and prefer Fox News?
posted by pracowity at 6:43 AM on May 17, 2002


I'm not dissing him at all, I just don't know what else he's done. I'm English and in England. We get CBS News at around 0030 on one of our 24 hour news stations and I nearly always watch. Overseas coverage of the same stories always fascinates me.

I think it's a poor excuse for what TV news can be and ought to be, but who, how and why I don't know who to point the finger at. What shocks me the most about it ('shock' is too strong a word but I can't think of a better one) is how little time they spend on each story. It seems to me as someone used to the BBC (no commercials at all, not even between programmes) that the news items are punctuation marks between commercials. When CBS go to commercial, Sky News (Sky, the most commercial network over here) read out the UK headlines and then go back to CBS.
posted by vbfg at 6:43 AM on May 17, 2002


"I'm always curious what exactly people think we're missing on the news. What did the 'evil' dark cloud of patriotism cover up? What angle hasn't been covered?"


Well it's taken 8 months to find that there was relevant intelligence before 9/11. Dan Rather specifically mentioned Operation Anaconda last night and suggested that there was a whole lot we didn't know about but, more importantly, nobody dared to ask about.
posted by niceness at 6:44 AM on May 17, 2002


But US Vice-President Dick Cheney hit back at the administration's critics, saying that some of their comments had been "thoroughly irresponsible and totally unworthy of national leaders in a time of war".

I find this breathtaking. Who decides what a war is? How long is this 'war' going on? and are US citizens happy with Cheney's implied suggestion that until it's 'finished' there can be no questions let alone criticism relating to it?
posted by niceness at 6:59 AM on May 17, 2002


Johnny Boy

The link is to the Guardian website but the Rather interview was a BBC Newsnight exclusive. I wonder whether his decision to speak to a foreign network is relevant?
posted by niceness at 7:01 AM on May 17, 2002


We get CBS News at around 0030 on one of our 24 hour news stations and I nearly always watch.

Can I correct you there? BBC News 24 shows ABC News w/ Peter Jennings at 1:30, not CBS w/ Rather. Though yeah, it's hard to tell the difference between the anchormen.
posted by riviera at 7:08 AM on May 17, 2002


Oh, I didn't read properly: yeah, Sky News carries CBS. Sorry about that.
posted by riviera at 7:09 AM on May 17, 2002


Nice to see this breaking down so neatly along party lines here: those who support the administration feel there's nothing to worry about, they're telling us exactly what we need to know; NPR listeners look for (and find) evidence of coverups everywhere.

Me, I don't see much difference between the media's spasm of flagwaving here, and the one they went through during Desert Storm: there, too, the networks went hook, line and tacklebox for the party line during the conflict, then got all contrite and self-questioning afterwards.

Can't resist this one, tho:

And his claim that NO military conflict has been less open & more secretive than this one -- malarkey. I'd claim the opposite is true [davidmsc]

So you know more about it than Dan Rather, somehow? The article (did you read it?) discusses how he felt constrained to follow the party line in this war, and that he felt media access was more limited in this case than in other conflicts. Him, I'd figure to be in a position to know. You, not so much. There's always plenty of footage of guns and missiles on TV. That doesn't equate to information.

As for "What angle hasn't been covered?" -- Plenty of examples spring to mind, but one will do. Who was mailing anthrax around, way back when? Why did the FBI drop the investigation? Why is nobody in the media asking about this at all?
posted by ook at 7:10 AM on May 17, 2002


in other news, feverish cows mediate u.s. patriots. stool samples at 11.
posted by quonsar at 7:12 AM on May 17, 2002


They are parasites who do nothing. They are waiting for you to do something so they can tell everyone else what you did. They are as useful as polititcians.

a3matrix, I can understand how you might feel that way about the media, I really can (the mid-90's were an ... erm ... interesting time to serve; I have a friend who is a former marine who feels the same way). However, please consider that it might be unfair for you to tar every journalist in the US with the same brush (just as it is unfair for me to tar everyone serving in the Military with the same brush).

At its best, investigative reporting can do for us what the combined might of the police and local and federal governments cannot ... it can find, expose, and publicize grievous and egregious violatons of the public trust. It can inform the public of questionable ethical practices even when no actual crime has been committed. It can inspire reform.

The majority of them are self serving and could care less what the actual truth is, just whatever serves their end.

Is it possible that you might have that backwards? My experience is that the majority of reporters are working hard to find and report the truth, and a small (but very visible) minority are self-serving, in effect ruining the reputation of all the rest.

I do wonder in which of those two categories you would put Daniel Pearl.
posted by anastasiav at 7:58 AM on May 17, 2002


However, please consider that it might be unfair for you to tar every journalist in the US with the same brush (just as it is unfair for me to tar everyone serving in the Military with the same brush).

Point well taken. Early morning tends to lead to erratic responses, apologies all around. I did not mean to stereotype all media, but was thinking of TV specifically.

I did serve 92-97, and it was "interesting" as you put it.

I think I am just burned out lately on all the TV schmoes here in Mass.

I never heard of Daniel Pearl until he was kidnapped, so I have no idea of his journalistic abilities. I do think what happened to him was reprehensible and I feel bad for his wife and his child (born yet?).


I have always thought that Chrsitian Amanpour did a good job, so I don't condemn them all I guess.
posted by a3matrix at 8:17 AM on May 17, 2002


All I know is I saw a lot more video on the BBC of ops in Afghanistan than I ever did on CBS/NBC/ABC/MSNBC (Americas News Channel WOOSH)/Fox Anything.
posted by @homer at 8:23 AM on May 17, 2002


But US Vice-President Dick Cheney hit back at the administration's critics, saying that some of their comments had been "thoroughly irresponsible and totally unworthy of national leaders in a time of war".

Questioning motivations and justifying actions is perhaps more called for in a time of war when the risk to soldier and citizen is high and civil rights are being questioned. Americans would be fools not to scrutinize but it's clear that Bush & Co. want carte blanch to do whatever they want. They weren't elected to a monarchy or dictatorship, they are accountable to the people and there is a very strong argument that right now the Congress much more closely resembles the people's choice than the Presidency. Regardless, the President is ALWAYS accountable to Congress as laid out in that big document, it's what checks and balances are all about.
posted by shagoth at 8:24 AM on May 17, 2002


This article which is the basis for this (empty) thread from last night, contains (among other things) some interesting answers from journalists to the question "Is Rather correct?".

"ROBIN WRIGHT: My only experience, and I shared it with Todd, was we were with Secretary Powell on this last shuttle, and our access actually was framed by the diplomacy, not by the action on the ground."
Robin Wright is the Chief Diplomatic Correspondent of the Los Angeles Times.

"TODD PURDUM: So I found just in the narrowest sense it's very difficult to get reliable information from an Administration who's basic posture is to be very closed down."
Todd Purdum is the Chief Diplomatic Correspondent of the New York Times, formerly the White House Correspondent of the New York Times.

If you object to the fact that this particular pannel was discussing the coverage of Israel and the Palestinians, try some of the other articles in the series: The Role of the Press in the Anti-Terrorism Campaign.
posted by anastasiav at 8:26 AM on May 17, 2002


I haven't watched the teevee news in the longest time. The Internet is faster, more accurate, and far less biased.
A friend has an online page that is little else but news links, so I use his:
walkingdead.net/~phxclench/bookm.html
but everyone here knows the equivalent, or could probably assemble a news collection service far better than anything the antiquated AP, UPI or any of the major nets could produce.
posted by kablam at 8:29 AM on May 17, 2002


Hey, Rather, why don't you ask the tough questions instead of bitching about how no one else is. You're in no danger of losing your position. Use your power to take stand instead of just complaining about it.
posted by fried at 8:57 AM on May 17, 2002


Got a good point there, fried.
posted by ook at 9:00 AM on May 17, 2002


Hey, Rather, why don't you ask the tough questions instead of bitching about how no one else is.

maybe he could do both?
posted by moz at 9:07 AM on May 17, 2002


Here is a quote that just about sums this whole mess up:

"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."
- Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
posted by gloege at 9:13 AM on May 17, 2002


Surprised that nobody has mentioned Manufacturing Consent. Probably the most important book on media ever published.
posted by muppetboy at 9:28 AM on May 17, 2002


Probably because everyone who feels like reading it has read it.
And I'll say it for the 99th time: if the lefties are bitching about the corporate media and the righties are bitching about the liberal media, and they're both talking about the same media, then the media is doing its job; it's not pleasing anyone.
posted by darukaru at 9:37 AM on May 17, 2002


okay, a3matrix, and apologies from me: cooling things down, it's still telling that eight journalists have lost their lives covering the situation in Afghanistan since September. Add Danny Pearl to that total, and it's pretty damn sobering. I suppose it's easy to think of all journalists as cossetted anchors, because that's what you see on the broadcasts, and many of them are just that, but I can't think of a time when it's been more dangerous to be a field correspondent. Perhaps Rather's reminded that asking a few tough questions at home is a kind of duty to those out in warzones.

(fried: from the clips of Rather's interview last night, I think he's heading towards doing just that.)

I wonder whether his decision to speak to a foreign network is relevant?

Probably more logistical than anything: Rather can't really speak to the other networks, or use his own employer as a forum for his personal opinions. But yeah, it'll be interesting to see if the US papers pick up on it.
posted by riviera at 10:26 AM on May 17, 2002


ook: As for "What angle hasn't been covered?" -- Plenty of examples spring to mind, but one will do. Who was mailing anthrax around, way back when? Why did the FBI drop the investigation? Why is nobody in the media asking about this at all?

Duh -- how in the hell is this a "coverup" or proof that the media is hiding something, or failing to investigate? The FBI has NOT dropped the investigation, and the media continues to ask about progress. However, when there is no progress to speak of in the course of an investigation, then there is very little to report, is there? And I've seen at least a dozen "anthrax tracks" reports on FNC in the last month, discussing what little progress has been made, along with speculation as to the motive, perpetrator, and evidence.

BTW -- I do know a few things about the military operations in support of the war; your assumption to the contrary is, well, an assumption and wrong.
posted by davidmsc at 10:47 AM on May 17, 2002


This progression is so obvious once you acknowledge that corporate news is about selling product, not selling news. The viewing public is a large mass to be prodded in whichever direction is the most profitable, and if that happens to be THIS way today and THAT way tomorrow...well, consistency isn't part of the charter.

Of course they were going to play the patriotic card early on, and of course they are going to drop it when more papers/airtime can be sold by dropping it. We will begin to see the backlash now to the previous approach, eventually culminating in lots of juicy scoops, revelations, stories, and endless opinionizing about what really happened every step of the way.

And it's a bit late for Dan Rather to try to claim/reclaim credibility now, after his admitted (and obvious) complicity.
posted by rushmc at 11:33 AM on May 17, 2002


If you're actually curious what stories are being suppressed, I suggest you read Into the Buzzsaw.
posted by euphorb at 11:46 AM on May 17, 2002


euphorb, I checked out the link to the review of "Into The Buzzsaw."

Sample quote about the book: "...serious journalists excommunicated from the media establishment for tackling subjects like the CIA's role in drug smuggling, lies perpetuated by the investigators of TWA flight 800, POWs rotting in Vietnam, a Korean war massacre, the disenfranchisement of black voters in Bush's election, bovine growth hormone's dangers and a host of other unpopular issues."

I submit that these are not "suppressed stories," but rather debunked stories. Just because a very small number of people actually believe that TWA Flight 800 was brought down by a missile doesn't mean that (a) it's true, or (b) that "fact" is being suppressed.
posted by davidmsc at 12:25 PM on May 19, 2002


Since the "Election" the media has walked on eggshells around GWB, deferring to him at any chance. On 9.11 they reverted to actual, truthful journalism - as they are supposed to. After that, they have returned to being a rebroadcaster for the GOP ministry of information.

Damn liberal media.
posted by owillis at 2:24 PM on May 19, 2002


I must say I'm getting tired of "The Media" being treated as some sort of monolithic group. "Media" is a *plural* noun...and encompasses everything from Rush Limbaugh to CounterSpin, from CNN to the West Hicksville Sunday Gazette. To ascribe an identical agenda to all of these is ridiculous. (I'm a journalist, and I never got the memo telling me to show up for the big meeting where we're told what to say.)
posted by Vidiot at 3:04 PM on May 19, 2002


I'm a journalist, and I never got the memo telling me to show up for the big meeting where we're told what to say.
unt you never vill... muahahahaha!
posted by quonsar at 3:44 PM on May 19, 2002


Cowed by the endless search for sensationalism and misguided efforts to maximize profits, more likely.
posted by clevershark at 6:58 PM on May 19, 2002


how in the hell is this a "coverup" or proof that the media is hiding something, or failing to investigate? [davidmsc]

"There are very few people who have this technical skill," said Dr. David Franz, the former bioweapons commander at Ft. Detrick. "And that's, in my mind, what makes this a very small group of potential perpetrators."

But federal investigators tell ABCNEWS that military and intelligence agencies have withheld a full listing of all facilities and all employees dealing with top-secret anthrax programs where important leads could be found. [ABC News]


While it's not going completely unreported -- obviously -- it certainly seems to be underreported given the potential magnitude of the story. There just aren't that many people who have the ability to make the kind of weaponized anthrax that was being mailed out: and we're talking about US bioweapons researchers here, people who should be pretty darn easy to identify, not murky unknown terrorist groups.

The military is keeping information from investigators -- not from the media, mind you; from the FBI -- what can you call that but a coverup? And most reports fail to mention this, but just repeat that the FBI is "out of leads:" what can you call that but a failure to investigate? (Put that straw man back in the closet, though: I don't think the media is deliberately hiding anything; that's nutty -- and would mean Vidiot would have to start getting those memos.)

Regarding buzzsaw. (I may as well slide offtopic, since this thread is already two days old, so nobody's going to see this anyway.) Some of the items on that list are well into conspiracy nut territory, but some are very much not:

According to the [Los Angeles] Times, state officials ignored warnings about mistakes in the systems used and even loosened the standards for matching voters' and felons' names, which increased the risk of innocent people losing the right to vote. [ACLU]

There's room for argument on that issue -- while the list of names incorrectly removed from the voter list is primarily democrats, it's hard to claim that anybody would've thought that the number of votes affected would have swung the election the way they did -- but you can hardly call something that's still the subject of litigation by both the ACLU and the NAACP "debunked".

And finally:
BTW -- I do know a few things about the military operations in support of the war; your assumption to the contrary is, well, an assumption and wrong. [davidmsc]

Lovely. Care to elaborate? Or shall we just take you at your word? Are you saying you do know more about what information is or isn't being withheld from Dan Rather than Dan Rather does?
posted by ook at 4:27 AM on May 20, 2002


Elaboration: I have dealt with many military public-affairs officers and commanders during my 14+ years in the military, and trust me - they have integrity, and are trained and told to report facts as openly as possible. In fact, my sister is one of those very people. My role in military healthcare is decidedly not as "publicly" engaging as the stories about fighter pilots and front-line, gun-toting soldiers, but my experience with all kinds of military personnel, and knowing some of the back-stories involved, lead me to conclude that little, if anything, is held back from the media UNLESS either (a) lives may be at stake, or (b) there is an active investigation concerning the subject matter, in which case disclosure to third parties may compromise said investigation. You'll agree that in cases such as that, prudence is the wise course?
posted by davidmsc at 6:20 AM on May 25, 2002


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