I Respectfully Disagree

Michelle Malkin has a post regarding the media being censored in Iraq. The argument made by both her & Michael Yon (in a linked article) is that the government has no right to restrict embedded media & that the media should provide oversight on military actions. I have to respectfully disagree that the media - independent or otherwise - is the best vehicle to provide said oversight.

Before making my argument here, the post by Michelle Malkin & the article by Michael Yon are well worth a read. I understand (I think!) where they're coming from and, if not for the majority of media who operate under the guise of agenda-free reporting, I concede they are correct in asserting responsible reporters deserve the opportunity to report with the troops in Iraq & Afghanistan. Below is just my opinion on the issue.

Insisting on completely open reporting implies we as American citizens have every right to access to military movements & operations. The media has demonstrated (e.g. - Geraldo Rivera embedded with the 4th Infantry Division) they cannot always maintain operational security. This places American soldiers & yes, the reporters, in danger. Whether the embedded reporters can look out for themselves or not isn't the issue - Our men & women out there have enough running through their minds without worry about a civilian's safety AND how that civilian is going to portray them in a report.

A case in point - CNN ran a video, provided by terrorists (the whitewash called them "insurgents", but they're terrorists), showing an American soldier killed by a terrorist sniper. It's another example of a network that has constantly been all over "complete disclosure" by the military - like in the first Gulf War when they had cameras on the beach watching SeALs landing. If anyone can demonstrate why it's necessary for us to have that particular information, please let me know.

In Michael Yon's article in the Weekly Standard he asserts,
I believe now as I did then: The government of the United States has no right to send our people off to war and keep secret that which it has no plausible military reason to keep secret.
OK, I have to disagree here. Just because the military doesn't need to keep something as classified information does not mean it needs to be broadcasted all over the world, particularly by an embedded reporter who potentially has an agenda. I don't believe having media embedded with the troops does us any good. Vietnam demonstrated the effect on morale of both Americans at home & fighting abroad AND how it was eroded by way of witnessing part of the war through television.

The media - mostly geared towards the concept that bad news sells (& it does) - sure doesn't show our troops rescuing children or even fighting the good fight. Largely, we see portrayals like Abu Graib posted everywhere.

Such poor portrayals are a disrespect to our men & women who serve all over the world.


rizzn said...

Speaking of Geraldo, one of my buddies got the opportunity to point a gun at his chest - Legally (quasi-legally, anyways).


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