If we wanted our reporters to be cheerleaders, we’d dress them up in skirts, give ’em pompoms and send them on their way to the front lines.
But we don’t — and that’s the problem.
Since the war has begun, the American media has fed us unbridled speculation, live battlefield action, dead and captured U.S. forces, heroic humanitarian aid efforts and plenty of stories about how the war’s going just great.
Where are the questions about our military strategy and how, all of a sudden, war planners have realized that it won’t be so easy to completely take over a nation with a relatively strong and (mostly) fiercely loyal military? How are the civilians really being treated — by both Iraqi and coalition forces — and how many are dying? Are we really supposed to believe that the massive firepower we’re using isn’t taking innocent lives?
The problem with the message lies in the process by which the information is being gathered. Reporters embedded within military regiments are providing reports from the front lines and sometimes even showing video of live gunfire. Note the live film of Baghdad being bombarded from the air and the Marines clearing a building in Umm Qasr, with viewers around the world watching lives being taken.
By using this method, these media outlets are allowing military leaders to show the war from any perspective they want. Naturally, this portrayal is almost always positive and is certainly not critical of the war strategy or informing us of what the war will really cost in human suffering.
If we want the government to tell us the war’s going just great, we can get that on C-SPAN … or FOX News. We expect a little more from our media. These guys need to put down their megaphones and pompoms and do a little reporting on the things President Bush doesn’t necessarily want us to be thinking about.
University Wire — Middle Tennessee State U.