Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Putting Easongate Into Perspective,1,6924287.columnist?ctrack=1&cset=true Parker’s Feb 16 editorial, Orlando Sentinel

For all of the Chicken Littles out there lamenting the rise in blogger “power,” (including the likes of Bob Beckel, David Gergen, and Kathleen Parker), rest easy, the demise in the MSM lies in the MSM’s hands, not in the hands of the blogoshpere. What each of these boo-hooers fail to grasp is that the bloggers who covered this story did so responsibly, and for the most part asked for one of two things…Eason Jordan to explain himself, which he did not do, or for the Davos tape to be released, which also was not done. In the absence of either “responsible” action, and a complete lack of MSM interest to pursue, the search for the “truth,” was left to interested parties in the blogosphere. End of story.

The fact the Eason Jordan was canned because he could not prove his slanderous claims causes me to pause for nary a second. I suspect that his canning has little to do with the blogoshpere effort and more to do with his unsupportable and outlandish comments made about his home country’s military. The intensity of the blogosphere attacks would have little impact if the statements were: 1. Proved to have never been made. 2. Were made, but found to be in a defendable context. 3. Were made and investigated to be true. None of which occurred. They were made and covered up…with the help of an olfactory-less bloodhound known as the MSM. In the end, he was fired, because he, CNN, or the rest of the MSM could not cover up what he said. They could only attempt to mitigate what could not be mitigated. All were found lacking and Jordan gets canned. Fair exchange in my mind for the slander he brought upon the men and women dying to give him the right to say those very words.

I am done worrying about Jordan and his job…if he is good at what he does, and he can keep his mouth in line, like most of us have to at work, he should get a new job…good luck.

Now for all the blogoshpere paranoiacs… chill out. Kathleen Parker’s Feb 16th editorial in the Orlando Sentinel is over the top. Her conclusion is that the blogoshpere may, in the end, have the effect of chilling free speech. Are you kidding me? It only chills merit-less allegations. It chills fabricated stories and evidence. It chills bias and partisan coverage. It does not however chill the truth.

I think the paradigm shift that is being missed here by the MSM and fringe bloggers like Parker, is that we don’t want the “story,” as written by some left-leaning, biased MSM reporter. We simply want the truth, and we are not going to wait six months for some watered down version to come from us via the MSM, with a slant that tells us that rain is actually sunshine.

We have the power, and it is powerful, to get to the truth in rapid order. The power in the blogoshpere lies in the fact the “truth” will surface, not with the bloggers. Beckel, Gergen, Parker, and the rest will do well to recognize this, and quit lamenting the firing of a journalist who felt that he could hide from the truth.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Alive and Well

I am back. I've been med down since Thurs evening and unable to muster enough energy to cast three weiner dogs off my horizontal carcass to blog. I'll have more later today on David Gergen and Bob Beckel, and why the MSM, and old time oepratives, are not getting the blogosphere. A couple of soon-to-be dinosauers amongst the hundreds, like Jordon, heading to the La Brea Tar Pits. Not being driven by "maniacal," "fanatical," "packdogs," from the right, but leading themselves there through a true failure to recognize the nimbleness the future requires, and the agility that the blogoshpere brings to the modern age of truth telling. Notice I didn't say "reporting."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

More On Easongate, Schechtergate, Cramergate,2933,146898,00.html Hannity and Colmes Captain Ed on Cramer more time, with feeling...

The Palestine Hotel incident needs to be put to bed. If you choose to be inside a war zone, choose your side wisely. As the other side gets closer, and their weapons are pointing in your could be killed. Should have thought of that beforehand. I don't care if HQ had been given the Lat/Long for the hotel...if the trooper in the tank thinks he is being targeted, he is cleared to take action. As with any loss of life, the reporter's death is tragic, but it cannot, under any circumstances, be construed as intentional targeting, i.e. murder.

Also, given the propensity for those in the MSM and foreign correspondents to be anti-American ( I offer this up as common knowledge, if that doesn't cut it, it is my heartfelt opinion), there are no guarantees, in my mind, that there were no Iraqi soldiers in the hotel at the time of the incident. And I certainly wouldn't expect any of them to warn the soldiers in the tank. So...tough luck, there are no safe houses in combat...for journalists or otherwise. It is essential that they come to understand this...while not specific targets, they are made of flesh and bone, like the rest of us. Death is just one round away. Accept it, or cover sports. If you do accept it, accept that your chances of dying are exponentially higher if you hang with the other team...fact.

As far as targeting Al Jazeera specifically, seems improbable, but the chances of getting killed while hanging with the Taliban are significantly higher than if your with the Marines on the ground. There are risks with job, and frankly, no "story" is worth getting killed over...eventually all of the available information will come to the surface. The tradeoff for "real time" coverage is risk. Producers need to understand this and call the shots for their reporters, not expect extraordinary care from our forces engaged with the enemy, just to get something to the paper 30 mins faster. If reporters continue to try to look for EVERY angle, they will continue to get killed in a variety of ways...unavoidable,

If there is a shred of truth to this story WHERE IS THE PROOF? If CNN cannot uncover ANY evidence after their execs start spouting off, then they either suck as reporters or THERE IS NO STORY!!! So get your proof on the table. If you don't have the proof, admit the accusations were baseless and false, apologize to the Armed Forces, and never work in journalism again.

Schechter ( in the H&C piece) first says it wasn't the troops but a "kind of policy." He later says "No, it wasn't a policy." Then he says "there wasn't responsibility taken by our military." Here is the rub on all three of these chuckleheads...Make your accusations clear and concise, provide your evidence, make your argument, defend it, and let the chips fall where they may. If you can't do all of that, shut the hell up! Your continued, unsupported accusations about our governmental policies and your branding of our military is slanderous, and inexcusable. Knock it off.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Military Distrust of the MSM…

The current relationship between the military and the media is both good, and terrible. By many accounts, working relationships between embedded reporters and the military units to which they are attached, are very good. Without a doubt, as a 20-year member of the military, the rest of the MSM is despised by the military. Yes I said, and mean, despised.

The latest flap with Jordan Eason only highlights why. Jordon treats the “US military” as a people-less target, but of course, this is not the case. Consequently, his flippant, accusatory, and slanderous remarks, both in Davos, Switzerland and in Portugal in November 2004, while undoubtedly aimed at a monolith, in the end are a slander against its members, individually and collectively. There is no escape from this. Without proof, without unit numbers, without individual incidents cited, he has branded all members of the military as potential murderers and torturers.

I loathe the MSM, but I would never consider “targeting” or killing a journalist without cause. If a journalist endangered my life or the lives of my men, however I would kill/target in a heartbeat. The mission comes first, period. I will not make a clearing pass to make sure there are no journalists around a damaged personnel carrier or downed helo. I will destroy it as commanded without hesitation or reservation. There are no “time outs” for journalists and their stories. This is combat, and they take their chances with the rest of us.

Conversely, we recognize that reporters are not professionally trained soldiers, so they may need a little looking after. As I watched the video streams in the spring of 2003, there were many stories by reporters praising the care and protection they received by the individuals within the units. So, until we see more proof, this should stand as the record.

Why do I loathe the press…repeated story filing in front of a burned out KC-130 in Khe Sanh, Viet Nam early 1968, leaving the impression that two or three a day were getting shot down. This misrepresentation gave the impression that our troops on the ground were failing, almost daily. Great background shot, but taken by the military as unfair. I side with the military.

Grenada. Pictures are carried in every major newspaper and magazine, showing a bootless pilot dead on the beach. Media defends this as showing part of the horrors of war. The family of the only Marine aviator casualty took it a bit different when they saw their son’s body used to sell more copy. In a panel discussion at Amphibious Warfare School in 1984, not one of the panelists (journalists) felt that there was anything wrong with publishing that photo, even after knowing the circumstances. We loathed them for the lack of respect they gave a fellow human being, his family and his service. We loathe them for the lack of remorse they felt for taking this position as well.

I appreciate Rebecca McKinnon’s comments in Hugh Hewitt’s forum (, but I find a few defenses a bit shallow. “Herd and mob behavior in the blogoshpere.”? Watch any major news story, particularly a tragedy, and then tell me about herds and mobs. The MSM operates as a pack 90% of the time, EXCEPT when they don’t want to cover something…particularly this story!!! Professional journalists cover the story, and let the chips fall where they may. The “herds and mobs” are the only ones trying to get to the truth here. Get the MSM on this and the blogoshpere will quiet down, but until this happens don’t dismiss the collective efforts of our citizen journalists as “herd and mob” action.

Her example about a checkpoint incident, where a journalist had to wait his/her turn, again shows the underlying arrogant expectations of journalists. Humble soldiers wait their turns. They are in lines half of their military lives. Why do journalist feel different? Why do they believe that they deserve head of the line privileges, while others wait their turn? Individual targeting, or following established procedures in order to protect all within the “green zone?” I suggest that by attempting to short circuit procedures that journalist endangered the lives of everyone already at the checkpoint, and potentially a significant number of people within. Targeting? Get real.

There are no excuses for journalists coloring a story, regardless of the pressures of combat. Would military personnel be justified in killing civilians just because of the pressures of combat? If the troops can take the time to sort it out under fire, the journalists can take the time to sort it out when filing their stories. No built in excuse for journalists, as she offers below.

“I can see why this situation might keep news execs up at night worrying about their people, and why it might also lead to a feeling amongst non-embedded journalists in Iraq that some servicepeople dislike them and are "out to get them," whether or not that's really the case. I can also see how that feeling might color journalists' reporting about the U.S. military in Iraq. The journalists are only human and they're working in a dangerous environment.”

William Prochnau’s book Once Upon a Distant War is an excellent book chronicling the early days of reporting in Vietnam. He brings to light the many positive contributions that professional journalists made during the early years in Vietnam. Practices and professionalism that waned as lesser reporters began to look for advancement and notoriety through the reporting of the war. Reporting that eventually created a chasm that has yet to be fully mended.

Gulf War I and OIF, through embedded reporting, went a long way to bring facts to the MSM while repairing much of the damage caused in the 70’s and 80’s, but Eason Jordan’s irresponsible accusations just freshen the wounds, and push reconciliation well out into the future. I don’t regret it. When professional journalism returns to the MSM, that chasm can be narrowed. They can start by covering this story.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Eason Jordon's Davo Remarks

I realize that there is very good traction on the Eason Jordon comments in Davos, but I’d still like to weigh in with my perspective. Captain Ed is covering it well, but alas, I must blog.

Captain's Quarters

CNN is in big trouble here. Let’s make no mistake, CNN exploded its reputation and influence through its coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. Americans were glued to their television sets from the launch of the first airstrike to the cease-fire. CNN ruled the airwaves, and put itself into a dominant position covering the war, a war fought by the very types of men, and some of the same men, Eason is slandering now. Incredible. No wonder their network, once preeminent in its field, is slipping into ridiculousness.

Issue #1. Where is the rest of the MSM on this one? By covering this story up through neglect, they are tacitly giving support to Eason Jordon and his position AND impugning their own reputations as journalistic institutions in the process.

Jordon’s claims are newsworthy, whether true or false. Every other credible institution should investigate. Imagine rogue elements of the military killing journalists. Or worse yet, commanders ordered the killings, and soldiers and Marines carried out those orders. These allegations are serious, and in order to protect our democracy from rogue military elements, this has to be investigated. So either the MSM is incapable of determining whether or not the military killed/tortured 12 reporters, or they are not interested in finding out. Either way, they must not be very good at what they do.

Of course the reason it is not being thoroughly examined is because everyone recognizes that there is very little chance that these charges are true, and that the real issue is that Jordon is off his rocker…something the other elements of the MSM are not too eager to expose. But, by ignoring this side of the story, they begin down the slippery slopes of “controlling” what is “news,” and conspiring to protect their brethren…something they loathe the military for.

If the MSM smelled a hint of truth in a conspiracy and cover-up, they would be all over it like a dirty shirt. This is the type of thing they would commit considerable resources to expose. To maintain a scintilla of credibility all MSM sectors should thoroughly investigate both sides of the question, and no wiggle room should be given to Jordon or CNN, when they are found not credible.

Issue #2. What has our military done to justify these types of comments? They have fought and died for this country. They have protected the freedoms of the very people who slander their reputations. You may disagree with the President and his policies, and in the process exercise your rights to free speech and criticize your country, but leave the reputations of the men who have valorously defended freedom across the globe out of your venom filled myopia.

Our military has dug itself out of a post-Vietnam malaise, and formed itself into one of the most powerful, effective, efficient, and professional institutions the world has known. How has the MSM progressed? Multitudes of completely fabricated stories, forged documents, staged “investigative” productions, several Pulitzer Prizes awarded to news pieces that were pure fiction, no self-regulation or discipline, and an approach to the “news” so partisan a Chia Pet could see it. Get off the military. Bash Bush at UN cocktail parties…he can take it, but leave the country and its protectors alone, unless you bring the proof with you.

Issue #3. CNN has to send a clear message via the firing of Jordan. When it is credibly exposed that Jordan is a fabricator of substantial proportions, he must be unceremoniously fired. Without self-regulation and discipline, a “profession” cannot exist. Slowly the MSM is killing the “profession” of journalism through excuse building, story fabrication, bias, and covering for their own. Sounds a lot like what the press often accuses doctors and lawyers of.

There are certainly skilled journalists about, but they and their efforts are being tarnished by the sloppy, biased, and “unprofessional” work of a growing number of journalists. Failure to condemn this action, by CNN and the MSM at large, serves to put all into the same sinking boat. If there is to be a journalism “profession,” it needs to discipline one of its own, NOW. It is time for the Neil Sheehans and David Halberstams to speak up.

Issue #4 (recurring theme). The US isn’t always right. Conversely it isn’t always wrong. Bush isn’t always right. Conversely, he isn’t always wrong. No system, no country, no President is perfect, but perfect can be the enemy of good enough. Let’s get the discourse out of the mud. Disagree with Bush, but bring something constructive to the table. It is mathematically impossible for Bush to have been wrong on every single thing he has done since he has taken office, but the media and the Dems have yet to acknowledge that he has been successful in even one area. This right-wrong discourse is what is dividing this country, and it is killing productive debate on complex issues. Go into debates looking for common ground and solutions, not looking for more vociferous ways to disagree.

The lack of meaningful discourse, and the decline in consistent and even communication is chipping away at our democratic foundation. Let’s all play like adults. Our future, the future of our institutions, and even the future of our very country are at stake.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

John Kerry's Record

MTP Transcript

After reviewing the transcripts of Sunday's "Meet the Press," I continue to be struck by how disingenuous Kerry is. He claims...

"RUSSERT: Would you sign Form 180?
KERRY: Yes, I will. But everything that we put in it, Tim -- everything we put in -- I mean, everything that was out was a full documentation of all of the medical records, all of the fitness reports.
And I'd call on those who have challenged me, let's see their records. I want to see the records of each of those people who have put up a challenge, because some of them have some serious questions in them... "

What records should we be interested and why.

A copy of his original DD214. This would show all of his training, awards, MOSs, etc., but it would also have the character of his first discharge (circa 1972). The questions about the character of his first discharge have not been cleared up with the controlled release of information.

An authentic copy of his first discharge certificate, again (circa 1972), not the one he had re-issued once he was sworn in as a Senator. The only relevant one is the original, that will likely reflect his anti-war behavior. Behavior he was involved with prior to his final discharge, and behavior he is responsible for. Understanding the full character of his first discharge is critical in putting his reputation into context.

Copies of each of the medical reports for each of his Purple Hearts. This goes dead to the issue of his motive to push for these awards. For those who have served, it is clear he was developing his own personal "exit strategy." I am pretty sure this Marine would release his full medical records were he to run for President.

John Kerry can clear up this issue by simply releasing his treatment record for those injuries.

He needs to provide copies of the combat action logs for the Christmas in Cambodia trip, an ambush. To this point, there were never any claims about combat action on this supposed mission. He threw this out on MTP, now he needs to back it up.

John Kerry needs to fade into the sunset. His service record is tattered, not because he simply served in Vietnam, but because it appears that some of his awards were issued without merit, because of his many exaggerations and false stories, and because he still has not signed the Form 180 that would allow an uncensored release of his record. Until his entire, unedited, record hits the wire he has NO credibility, and indeed is completely shamed by the courageous actions like that of the Marine above. Kerry couldn't carry his canteen.

Courage America

Chris Wallace made a few comments on the Hugh Hewitt show last week that caused me some concern. As he and Hugh were talking about the (then) upcoming elections in Iraq, Chris and Hugh noted the potential dangers to the Iraqi voters. Then Chris tossed out a line that made me pause...he said, “I am not sure I would vote,” or words to that effect. I hope that if Chris took the time to reflect on his comments, he would reconsider his stance.

Living in a democracy takes courage…not just from our soldiers, but also from every one of our citizens. As soon as we become afraid to exercise our hard fought freedoms, we will lose them. At what point is Chris willing to risk his life to participate in this democracy that he greatly benefits from? I am not railing Chris, but his attitude mirrors a growing majority of the population that wants democracy, but cowers when the going gets tough.

What would Chris have done if he had been on flight 93 as it was heading back to DC? Protecting our freedoms takes a firm resolve of ALL of our citizens…men, women, and maybe children. If our citizens ever fail to vote because they simply fear for their personal safety, we are through as a nation. We have to KNOW that we would vote, regardless of the personal risks. It is this kind of resolve that protects our democracy.

Failing to participate out of fear will open the door to myriad of anti-democratic forces. Imminent? No, but exercising our rights is what keeps our system functioning, just as physical exercise strengthens the body.

Our Defense Department only protects the citizens, the citizens protect the democracy. We need to understand that voting IS worth any risk. And while the physical risks in defending our democracy are usually borne by our soldiers, everyone needs to be prepared to assume some of that risk should the time come.

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