Saturday, January 15, 2005

I really should not do this but I am going to do it anyway. I have just finished reading an article entitled "Aiding and Abetting the Enemy: the Media in Iraq" by LTC Tim Ryan, CO, 2/12 Cav, 1st Cav Div who is in Iraq about how the news media is distorting the war and aiding the enemy. Let us leave aside the hyperbole of the title of the piece and go for the summary of his thesis, which has two parts:

  1. The press in Iraq puts out biased views on the war in Iraq (mostly encouraging the insurgents).
  2. The press are not "experts" in the war so they should not say anything except what he would like them to say.

I will take the first premise first. All of the stuff he talks about (ie weapons in Mosques and "courts" of Shria law set up by insurgents to "try" "criminals" (basically anyone who supports the Americans) was in every CNN article that I read on their web site. The reader, however, had to read past the headline to get the information, which was often near the middle or end of the article. So basically he is saying that the headlines are helping the enemy since the information that he claims is not there actually is there if you read into the articles.

The second claim is far more dangerous than the first, which can be factually discounted. He claims that since the press are not "experts" (if you read his entire article you will find that he defines "experts" as people in the military) they should only say what experts tell them. I strongly disagree. He does give a sop near the end of the article that, "I am all for free speech". Well, if he is for freedom of speech then he should never had said what he does (although, I am all for his right to say it). Everyone from pop stars and Rolling Stone to you and I have the right to say whatever we want about the war in Iraq. That is a fundamental right given to me by the Constitution (although, I now live in Scotland). He should respect that. All opinions are not equal but do not discount someone just because they are a pop star or an ordinary citizen. If they have something to say, they can say it.

So all in all. His essay fails to convince. Once you read past the hyperbole of the title and get into the central part of the essay, his thesis fails. First, it fails on factual grounds (that the press is not reporting the "real" facts). Second, it fails on points of law and human rights (you should only say what I want you to say). While he is free to say whatever he likes, I would ignore this particular article.

posted by Chris  #11:57 AM | 0 comments |