Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Information Shadow War

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. ~Thomas Jefferson

So how about if the administration devotes itself less to managing the news and more to trying to manage Iraq?- NYTimes columnists Nicholas D. Kristof

How about when the news establishment devotes less time to managing Iraq and more time to actually managing the news without driving an agenda?

I certainly don't regard journalists to be "cowards", as Kristof feels the need to defend their courage. But many of them deserve derision with their pompous, self-aggrandizement; with their inability to see their own bias and to be honest about it (to themselves and to their readership).

Crittenden(who has his own in today's Boston Herald criticizes the sloppy journalism going on at the AP.
The Associated Press is embroiled in a scandal. Conservative bloggers, the new media watchdogs, lifted a rock at the AP.

Curt at Floppingaces,, led the charge. He thought there was something strange about an AP report, and took a second look at it, then a third look. He and others blew the lid off it. The AP is making up war crimes. But the resulting stink in the blogosphere has barely wrinkled a nose in the mainstream press.
Curt's reaction and response here. Plus his response to the NYTimes contempt for bloggers over the questioning of the AP's credibility in the Burning Six story. HotAir also has a video of Crittenden's interview on FOX regarding this.

There are several types of bias:
Many of those links could fall into several categories. I was just in the mood for a linkfest.

An op-ed appearing in the NYTimes earlier this week, The Wars of Perception, details how public opinion and perception were colored during the Tet Offensive, Somalia, and the current war by the manner in which journalists reported "the facts". Here we have perception that is detached from the reality. And the power of those perceptions influenced political policy-making, and consequently, shaped the course of history. As a case in point of how the media can influence public perception, Johnson and Tierney write,
Eddie Adams’ photograph of South Vietnam’s police chief executing a Vietcong captive in the street caused a sensation. After he fired the shot, the police chief told nearby reporters: “They killed many Americans and many of my men. Buddha will understand. Do you?” Back home in the United States, the image spoke powerfully of a brutal and unjust war. For some Americans, this image was the Tet offensive.
As we know, today, the Tet Offensive was a victory for the U.S. And Eddie Adams himself, regretted how his photograph was perceived by the public, effectively taking the wind from the sails of those looking for victory in Vietnam.
Adams said ‘The General killed the Vietcong; I killed the general with my camera.” His photograph rallied the anti-war movement in the U.S. as it became the symbol of an atrocity, the execution of an innocent civilian by a corrupt regime supported by the United States. Adams himself fought against this interpretation of his photograph, saying that General Loan “was a hero. America should be crying. I just hate to see him go this way, without people knowing anything about him.”

“They killed
many Americans
and many of my men.
Buddha will understand.Do you?
-General Nguyen Ngoc Loan
Adams also later said:
photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them; but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths.’

There is a second war going on right now, behind the scenes, as illustrated recently by the "Burning Six" story. It is a media information war; a shadow war, simultaneously happening in the background of the current war against Islamic terror. And as Powerline indicated,
I have infinitely more faith in the U.S. military than in the Associated Press, but that doesn't mean the military is always right or the AP always wrong. It seems that the AP believes it is in a strong position. I'm tempted to say that one institution or the other must emerge from this affair with its credibility damaged. But perhaps it's just as likely that the facts will remain unresolved, lost in what sometimes seems like an epistemological fog. Or maybe it's just a fog of bad reporting.
I think the stakes are too high to allow the smug arrogance of the journalistic elite establishment keep shaping, interpreting, in some cases outright fabricating, and dictating to the world what is and isn't "news" and "newsworthy". In this information war, pajama-clad bloggers- an army of Davids- will be the media's oversight, doing the jobs editors aren't doing.

Hat tip: Further Adventures of Indigo Red for the NYTimes op-ed, "Wars of Perception"

Brutally Honest for link to Jules Crittenden's Boston Herald piece.

Recommended reading:

Bernard Goldberg's Bias and Arrogance
The Gospel According to the the New York Times by William Proctor
Journalistic Fraud: How the New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted by Bob Kohn
Seth's book review of "We Were One", illustrating the dangers political correctness and anti-war journalism has on those who serve on the frontlines against the enemies of America.

To Nicholas Kristof and his NYTimes piece, I only have one more word of advice for him:



Blogger Gayle said...


Okay, it's a short comment, but what else can I say?


Sunday, December 03, 2006 5:02:00 PM  
Blogger atheling2 said...

Fabulous post, wordsmith!

I place journalists below used car salesmen and lawyers now, and a little bit above pedophiles.

Sunday, December 03, 2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger RoxieAmerica said...

Excellent wordsmith. I should have sent you my series on Islamic revoltionary terrorism so you could turn it from an article into an awesome creation. Keep it up!

Monday, December 04, 2006 6:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

I'm going to have to agree with atheling2 about the journalist's placement on the humanity scale.

Monday, December 04, 2006 7:08:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Excellent, excellent post and all so true!!

Monday, December 04, 2006 9:44:00 PM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

what was that link to TENNESSEE GUERILLA WOMEN about? Not like I needed that much information.

Good piece as usual. As much as the lamestream media is declining in both readership and credibility, this story illustrates the immense power they have to shape perceptions.

And we are encouraged to question and doubt everything about our nation's leadership but never permitted to question the motives and performance of the press? What's up with that?

Monday, December 04, 2006 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

lol, Mike. At first, I wasn't sure what you were on about; then I realized that the Kristoff article was a TimeSelect, so I had to hunt down the article from leftie sites that drooled over it as a thing profound.

Thanks for the comments, all.

Monday, December 04, 2006 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Seth said...

Wordsmith --

This post was beyond excellent, it was... to steal from Gayle... WOW!

Though I must say I think Atheling2 gives journalists too much credit, as she forgot to place them below grave robbers, as well.

And... thanks for the mention.

What really makes me wonder is how these folks, many of whom undoubtedly majored in journalism with the intention of doing what they were trained to do, are able to reconcile themselves with what they have become.

Friday, December 08, 2006 12:33:00 PM  

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