Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rummy Makes My Brain Sad.

There's really a lot to dislike about Rumsfeld's attack on those who think that, y'know, maybe invading a country for no reason and with no plan was a bad idea, but this one little morsel just jumped right out at me and won't let go:
[Rumsfeld added] that part of the problem is that the American news media have tended to emphasize the negative rather than the positive.

He said, for example, that more media attention was given to U.S. soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib than to the fact that Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith received the Medal of Honor.

He did acknowledge that the U.S. military has its own ''bad actors -- the ones who dominate the headlines today -- who don't live up to the standards of the oath and of our country.'' But he added that they are a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Arrrgh. That part I bolded is just insane. Please explain to me how one soldier getting the Medal of Honor is a bigger story than a whole bunch of soldiers colluding to torture and humiliate Iraqi prisoners?

Just how much coverage can you give a Medal of Honor story? It is by its nature very limited in scope, with no conspiracy or chain of command to unravel, no legal repercussions to address, no ethical dimensions to analyze. "Sgt. Smith performed this act of heroism and got a medal, The End." I don't mean to denigrate Sgt. Smith's service, I'm just trying to point out that it's a pretty simple, straightforward formula.

As for that last paragraph, well, the bad actors in any group will always dominate the headlines. I never hear Rummy complaining about how the media never talks about all the good Muslims (aside from the administration's pets in Iraq and Afghanistan, of course). What's significant is what those in charge do about their own bad actors, and in BushCo's case, the answer is as little as possible. They refuse to take any responsibility for enabling them, failing to hold them accountable, or lowering Army standards to the point where they're actively recruiting them.

Remember, for the Republicans, failure and criminality are never the problem; reporting on failure and criminality is. And you know what? Rummy and Bushie are getting off easy.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

and how much MSM time was spent on zarqawi/s hacking Bergs head off versus Abu Gharab??? and which was worse?

Eli said...

I'm not sure what your point is. Rumsfeld was complaining about underreporting of *positive* news, plus I thought Berg's beheading did get rather a lot of coverage. And the big difference between decapitation by terrorists and torture by Americans is just that: Terrorists are *supposed* to be bad guys who do horrible things. Americans *aren't*.

It also goes back to my point about the unfolding complexity of the story - after the beheading, what is there really to report on?

karmic_jay said...

Very well said. Things would be fine in Iraq if only our press reported it. ;)
Same old crap.