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Friday, November 18, 2005 

Semper Fi as always

Dispite what certain political hacks who formerly served in the military are now running their cake holes about. Those who presently wear the uniform and carry the title with pride and distinction are speaking out and here is what they are saying.

Media Blog http://media.nationalreview.com/082793.asp
Stephen Spruiell Reporting


Media Culture
Marines: The Media Don't Show What America is Getting For Our Sacrifice

Like Kathryn, I spent my morning speaking to a group of Marines who were interested in learning how to communicate their message more effectively to the public through the media. I spoke on a panel about new media, then I was on another panel discussing various aspects of media culture that made it difficult for Marines to get good news stories to the public.

The Marines were a fantastic audience. They were engaged and inquisitive on every point, and they were also genuinely concerned about the mainstream media's preoccupation with negative news. They felt that it's not that the negative stories — like casualty reports — shouldn't be reported, but that we never hear what America is getting for this sacrifice. As one Marine put it, it's like if I spent $7.99 for a slice of pizza and the headlines the next day read, "Marine Out Eight Bucks!"

Of particular concern was the way the 2,000th casualty overshadowed the passage of Iraq's constitution, which happened on the same day. One Marine just recently back from Iraq called the constitution "a major step toward us getting out of there," yet noted that the media coverage of the event had been astonishingly shallow. One fellow panelist, a producer for CBS News*, said that the 2,000th casualty was a very important story because it was important to know that these were our brothers and fathers that were sacrificing in Iraq. The room sort of exploded with hands in the air and marines arguing that the 2,000th casualty was a meaningless statistic and no different that the 1,999th or the first. Moreover, they argued that the bigger problem was the lack of balance — the good news was not reported with the bad. The CBS News producer agreed, but he and an NBC producer also argued, using an old standby, that it's not news if a plane lands at Kennedy airport safely — only if it crashes. Another argument that the NBC producer made was that the casualty reports are right there in black and white, and that it can be harder to get the good news stories.

I brought up the example of Cpl. Jeffrey Starr, with which many of the Marines seemed familiar, as an instance where the good news was right in front of a reporter who chose to skip over it and make it a negative story.

To be fair to the CBS and NBC guys, they were both good panelists and gave the Marines useful suggestions for dealing with the press. The CBS guy admitted that he was outraged by a recent "60 Minutes" piece about Route Irish, the once-deadly road to the Baghdad airport which the military has since secured. "60 Minutes," which had videotaped the segment prior to the security improvements, didn't bother to report in depth on the recent progress. I hadn't been aware of that piece and plan to look into it.

Another thing that the CBS guy said was that he was amazed that there weren't more hero stories coming out of the war, and that he thought there ought to be more. I agree. Everyone of the Marines in that room is heroically serving their country. The MSM ought to be paying more attention to each of their stories.

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  • I'm Devious Mind
  • From Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Good judgemnt comes from experiance. Experiance comes from bad judgement. Karma, its a bitch.
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