July 18, 2008

SHOCKER: Media Gives Up On Losing Iraq; Transitions to Plan to Lose Afghanistan In Its Stead

We always knew they were unable to accept victory, so it perhaps shouldn't come as much of a surprise that a U.S. media unable to secure defeat in Iraq has given up on betraying that democracy, and is instead executing a pivot, beginning an attempt to lose the Afghan war instead.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll found that a startling 45 percent of Americans said they do not think the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting, despite the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which provoked the war in the first place.

The growing disenchantment with the Afghan deployment hasn't reached the level of national frustration with the Iraq war, but after more than six years with U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan and violence on the rise, Americans are becoming increasingly wary about the country's involvement.

As mentioned just yesterday, many of today's top writers, anchors, columnists, editors, producers and publishers cut their journalistic teeth during the Vietnam War era, and have never been able—nor is there evidence there there ever been a serious attempt—to shift away from covering wars through a Vietnam-era lens.

For them, wars are never worth fighting. Their editorial focus will always be:

  • a push for withdrawal instead of resolving a conflict through victory;
  • playing up U.S. casualties, while downplaying or ignoring enemy casualties;
  • dramatic emphasis on unexpected U.S. setbacks, with a minimization of tactical and strategic successes;
  • a one-sided focus on U.S. military-attributed civilian combat casualties, while largely ignoring civilian casualties caused by opposing military forces;
  • an emphasis on finding Americans tired of or opposed to the conflict suffering low morale, with no attempt to present opposing populations as anything other than a stoic, unyielding monolith whose primitive will cannot be broken(so we might as well go home);
  • a one-sided focus on indirect traumas suffered by the civilian population, while ignoring the poverty, healthcare, and human rights concerns caused by the opposing forces;
  • an over-reliance and benefit of the doubt given to those alleging accounts detrimental to U.S. interests, where that means giving credence to allegations of civilians harmed by U.S. military operations without evidence of such harm (already commonplace in Afghan War reporting, where it seems U.S. bombs consistently hit only wedding parties made up of innocent women and children) while often ignoring direct atrocities performed by the opposing force against civilians;
  • attempted moral equivalence—masked as "objectivity"— between U.S. forces and political and/or ideological movements famous for cruelty.

Journalists have been conditioned to report through such a distorted perspective that it is little wonder at all that even the "good" and "just" response of a war against the Taliban for their role in the attacks of 9/11 must now be twisted in such a way that it can be reported from the only perspective the media knows (or more accurately, cares to know) in viewing and covering wars fought by Americans. While the U.S. military has adapted to fighting new kinds of conflicts, the media is still using corrosive and corroded story templates older than much of their target audience.

"Modern" war coverage is an utterly self-defeating, self-loathing enterprise, and we bear much of the blame for what we see, for we still accept and still consume a defective news product. What motive do the media have to change, if we, the news consumers, don't clearly articulate to the industry why we are no longer buying failing newspapers, or believing that news outlets are acting without preconceived biases? We have let them stick to what is for them, a comfortable agenda.

ABC News is in no way alone in their tonal shift in Afghan coverage, as other outlets doubtlessly came before them, and certainly more news outlets will follow. They are still fighting the last war using the tactics and strategies they are most comfortable with. They are fighting to lose.

Will we let them?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 18, 2008 09:27 AM

Excellent post. Preaching to the choir, but excellent post. The only objection I would take would be to the risk of an over correction in reporting in the vein of your second bullet point. Obviously the MSM hyper-emphasizes US causualties while ignoring the enemy's. We should not tolerate the inverse either. Kill counts while tactically significant, especially for the trigger pullers, can artificially mask strategic goals, ala Vietnam.

We should expect our media to report the FACTS of engagements, including total forces engaged, WIA, and KIA on each side. More importantly we should not be denied analysis to the strategic importance (or insignificance) of victories or setbacks. The refusal of the MSM to report in this fashion reduces them to nothing more than propoganda flaks for the enemy, which in time of war used to be considered treason...

Thank you for the space.

Posted by: Gus Bailey at July 18, 2008 09:56 AM

.. but .. but .. Afghanistan is the "good war" .. or so we have been told.

Posted by: Neo at July 18, 2008 10:46 AM

The media is worse than the terrorists. They actually have half the nation "held hostage". So sick of this bull.

Posted by: Ryan at July 18, 2008 10:48 AM

Oooh! Ooooh! I know! I know! We're losing cause we don't have translators in Afghanistan because they're all in Iraq! The Obamamessiah said so!

Of course, no one told him that they speak a different languages in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that doesn't matter, a translator is a translator, right?

Posted by: C-C-G at July 18, 2008 06:45 PM

The Fourth Estate is a FIFTH COLUMN. May they all burn in hell....soon.

Posted by: joyce at July 18, 2008 09:02 PM

Glad to see the stab in the back theory isn't dead. Keep it up guys.

Posted by: Cheney's Other Priority at July 19, 2008 10:47 AM

I've absolutely had it with the American press. My contempt for the institution could grow, I'm sure, but it has reached a point that I've wiped them all away. I have no respect for what they are as an institution any more.

The way they have handled Obama - since they built him up with some of the most incredible cheerleading I've ever seen over a year ago - was what pushed me over the edge fully recently.

But this kind of stuff is systemic too...

On my blog, when talking about the media's use of Iraq War II -- I'd bring this up with short, snotty comments about "Where is the war in Afghanistan? Is it still going? Chance of success there is much, much worse than in Iraq, but why don't we hear about Afghanistan? Why doesn't it matter?"

Well, of course, now it matters --- because reporting about Iraq can no longer suit their needs - because progress has become too good to lie about.

So, what to do? It is an election year, right?

Well, heh --- there's Afghanistan...!!

Posted by: usinkorea at July 19, 2008 01:11 PM

ABC news doesn't bother to tell you that Mr. Sholom Keller is a member of Iraq Veterans Against The War. Does that fact change how you read his quote?

I bet it does.

Dig into the article a little more and I'll bet you find more stunts like this one.

Posted by: Steve White at July 19, 2008 10:59 PM


Posted by: 钢托盘 at March 6, 2009 09:43 AM