Many of you have taken me to task for ‘bashing’ Hugh Hewitt. I don’t think I am so much bashing him as pointing out why his war against the media is wrong, and here is an excellent example.
There are lots of reasons an officer might send Fineman such a letter, reasons we cannot know because we don’t have the specifics on the author. Fineman’s decision to launch a column using that letter as opposed to Major K’s post is a choice –one consistently made by MSM– to lead with the bad news from Iraq and rarely, if ever, underscore not just the progress there, but also the alternative universe that would exist if, two years and two months ago, Saddam had not been removed.
And right there, you see the objective of media ‘neutrality’ in Hugh’s rules for the media- every ‘bad’ piece must be balanced with a ‘good’ piece. This was a ‘bad’ piece because in Hugh’s Manichean world, anything that is pessimistic about the situation in Iraq is anti-US and therefore, anti-administration. It is part of why I think the real goal is a subservient media.
Today, Howard has a long piece outlining the problems with Howard Dean titled the Scream 2: the Sequel, in which Fineman goes through and lists a number of Dean’s problems and shortcomings.
By Hugh’s standards, shouldn’t he be crowing loudly about this piece, since it is anti-Democrats, which by Hugh’s logical extension makes it pro-administration and a serious blow to the insurgency in Iraq and terrorists worldwide? Shouldn’t he be trumpeting this piece?
Of course not. That would be a stupid rule. But I am not the one who made these rules of ‘balance’ and media bias up- Hugh and others did. Sometimes, a piece is just a piece. Sometimes, there is more bad news than good. Sometimes, reporters and columnist report what they see, not what they want or not what they think is the best or the worst for anyone involved. That is their job.
But, it appears, some don’t want them to do it. In the last few months, I have taken my fair share of shit for being a ‘media defender.’ Yesterday, in the comments of Buzzmachine, some anonymous jackheel wrote this:
Cole is wrong. Again. He’s the kind of so-called conservative that consistently goes all Sullivan on anyone that doesn’t agree with him. He always defends the MSM, believes (without any proof) complaints about torture at Gitmo (hey, it’s in the Al Qaeda playbook to complain!) and ignores the fact that whatever’s going on down there is nothing compared to the thousands dead. And whatever they’re doing down there…well, I haven’t seen another plane heading into the Empire State Building. War isn’t for sissies like Sullivan and Cole.
Let’s put aside the sissy remark by an anonymous coward who clearly knows nothing about my background and get back to objective reality. I don’t believe everything bad about America or American soldiers, and I don’t automatically defend the mainstream media and always believe everything they say. Check my damned archives, foolio. I have had some choice words for the vile scum represented by Ted Rall, Eason Jordan, and Linda Foley. When they get it wrong, I want them hammered like everyone else.
But what this guy and some others want is a media that says what they want them to say and nothing else. That isn’t a personal attack on Hugh- that is an attack on a silly an indefensible premise that helps no one.
I want an honest media, but I don’t want a servile one. I know for a fact that there are many in the media who do use every opportunity and every column inch to make petty attacks against the administration. I have no problem with identifying them and calling them out (Paul Krugman does come to mind). I do have a problem with this bizarre notion that we should dictated what they write about, because there is the distinct possibility that events dictate the coverage to a large degree. Maybe the reason coverage seems gloomy lately is that more often than not, bad things are happening.
Maybe if the security situation were better in Iraq, reporters and journalists could have more access to all the good things that are going on? They can, after all, only report what they see. Of course the coverage is going to focus on explosions- they get an armed military escort to cover them in a nation where the highway to the airport has to be shut down at night by helicopter gunships to get people safely in and out of the country.
Maybe they reported on the alleged abuses of the Koran so frequently because they see how, true or not, these abuses have resonated in the communities they are observing. Personally, I think the Koran coverage was a win for the United States, even if we turned it into a loss. Is it unclear to anyone the ridiculous extremes we now go through to respect the Koran, and that more detainees have defiled the Koran and in more disgusting manners than anything our boys have done?
At any rate, have at it in the comments.