February 12, 2010

Research Bleg for a Student

Good morning, bloggers and blog readers... have I got an assignment for you.

Last night a student contacted me because she is working on a paper for a class, and she needs our help:

Unfortunately my instructor is very strict and in my opinion attempting to push her political views on the class. Unfortunately for me, I have never been a conformist and I feel I am being set up to fail. My assigned topic was The Media and the Military. My stance is the media (American) does not support the troops as much as they should. (I have articles where journalists admit what they are allowed to write about and not, and most of it shows that the military's positive actions are shoved to the back burner while bad news about the wars are headlines.)


I completely understand that the in your face lying is not out there and that the rhetoric used by the mass news media is sneaky and takes someone with linguistic ability to differentiate. You mentioned "plausibly 'accidental' smears or misreporting." This is what I am interested in. I have read the reports on the laws saying that you need to prove it was reported falsely intentionally. (I think that's a crock!) This is how Newsweek got away with it's misreporting of the specific torture events in 2005. Do you know of any other stories like this?

Here's the problem: the instructor won't let her use blogs as a source, thereby forcing her to rely on the media to report when they lie.

If you can think of examples where the mainstream media, academics, or other acceptable sources have documented examples of their brethren lying about the U.S. military, please leave them (with links) in the comments.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at February 12, 2010 08:36 AM

OF course the clearinghouse for media wrongness and bias is Newsbusters. And it should not be considered a blog. The BBC has also been doing a pretty good job with Climategate, but I have not seen military stories there.

I am glad that I am no longer in school. I had to deal with the very same professorial biases, too.

Posted by: paul mitchell at February 12, 2010 08:47 AM

For such a project I would want to communicate with Jim Hanson, for starters.

...and I'd also try getting in touch with Oliver North at Fox News, or through his personal web site.

I'm sure both could help answer your question and/or direct you to other sources that could.

Posted by: Dell at February 12, 2010 09:01 AM

The Newsweek Koran Flushing article.,2933,156612,00.html

Newsweek would not retract the story even after people had died over it. Even after admitting they had the facts wrong. Chutzpah.

Posted by: Dan Irving at February 12, 2010 09:03 AM

Of course the students teacher might not take Fox News as a credible source either ...

Posted by: Dan Irving at February 12, 2010 09:03 AM

Your student might want to get confirmation that MSM Blogs are also out of bounds. But, that is where I would first start. I also would look at the ombudsman articles and links to see what they are saying about their own papers.

Posted by: CoRev at February 12, 2010 09:14 AM


Like the person said above, Newsbusters is a good place. They've got links to all their stories, so sourcing actual media articles won't be a problem.

Milblogs are also a good resource.

That said, I can think of a few stories that stick out:

Was it Gary Kamiya (spelling?), a columnist or reporter for a liberal newspaper I can't remember off-hand, that actually wished that he wanted things to "go badly" for our troops in Iraq during the height of the surge? Ace of Spades brings it up a couple of times as a reminder why the MSM are such shitbags.

Also, we can't forget an NC connection. Lt. Ilario Pantano, USMC (ret.) was crucified in the media for massacring Iraqi civilians. As it turned out, the media got the story completely wrong and jumped on the "military are evil" bandwagon before finding out the facts. Your student can reference his book, "No BetterFriend, No Worse Enemy". Lt Pantano is running for state office down in Wilmington, I believe.

Dick Cavet saying Gen. Petraeus' collection of medals and ribbons on his Class A would only impress "a 12 year old".

The NYT and the "General Betrayus" ad.

That's all I can think of right now. Hope that helps.

Posted by: EC at February 12, 2010 09:22 AM

I would start with this google search for the biggest msm screwup in the last few years.

Papa Ray

Posted by: Papa Ray at February 12, 2010 10:04 AM

If I remember correctly, the NY Times Ombudsman actually had a couple of stories where he rebuked their reporting as skewed. Around 2004-2006. No links that I have at my fingertips. That should help refute the liberals view that only discredited websites and sources claim the media is biased.

The best websites for media bias against the military is Mudville Gazette ( Greyhawk has lots of comparisons for her to use, linking the media's own reports against themselves.

Sorry, not much else to offer. Will keep looking.


Posted by: Subsunk at February 12, 2010 10:22 AM

While Milblogs may be out of bounds as a primary source, they should be contacted about where media bias appears as they do a great job tracking this issue. Here are a few Milblogs that are among the best.

Blacfive -

Blogs of War -

Michael Yon -
Best reporting bar-none.

Mudville Gazette -

Long War Journal -

David Bellavia (Not strictly a Milblogger but has good military reporting) -

Wish the young lady good luck. Tell her to keep s posted on her progress and final grade.

Tarheel Repub Out!

Posted by: Tarheel Repub at February 12, 2010 10:40 AM

A great place to start is Peter Braestrup's BIG STORY, a lengthy dissection of the press coverage of the Tet Offensive in 1968 and how the press managed to report a major victory as a defeat. The two volume set is more detailed.

Posted by: Joe Hooker at February 12, 2010 10:43 AM

Didn't the media quote a sensational source of Iraqi body count only to be corrected with the official Iraqi government count that was outrageously smaller? Something like the British Lancet vs

Posted by: Jim at February 12, 2010 11:07 AM

Try reading up on Peter Arnett and "Tailwind."

Also B.G. Burkett, who spent years fighting the crazed homeless Vietnam vet image with his book "Stolen Valor."

Last, look up "US journalism scandals" on wikipedia. There are plenty to choose from, and strangely enough, they all go in one direction. Not too many stories on how the North Koreans/Vietcong/Iranians/Iraq troops were worse than reality.

Posted by: orthodoc at February 12, 2010 11:13 AM

Just flip the DVD set of Victory at Sea on the teachers desk, and challenge them to imagine in their wildest dreams if such a thing could ever be produced today. They'll stand there slack jawed with no possible response. Game over.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at February 12, 2010 11:15 AM

The Tailwind story that CNN and Time ran that accused the US of using nerve agents is a good example. The following url will take you to a site that documents many of the MSM stories highlighting CNN and Times lies and the retractions that followed. Many of the links for the stories do not work now but the info should be enough to look up micro-fiche files in the library.

Posted by: a6bogie at February 12, 2010 11:23 AM
Blood and Ink! The Common-Interest-Game
Between Terrorists and the Media
Bruno S. Frey and Dominik Rohner
April 2006 Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
University of Zurich

The linked paper does not delve into further motivations for positive coverage of terrorists vs. negative coverage of American military such as negative coverage of terrorists incites them to kill the reporter, negative coverage of military incites conciliatory response by military.
This article shows a reporter filming a terrorist inciting a crowd to riot, the reporter being in close proximity to the terrorist - why does the reporter feel so safe?
There are other references to this story, but this contrasts how the media reported on a soldier who was kidnapped vs. how they reported on a reporter who was kidnapped.

google the Chris Matthews "Enemy Territory" comment

review the presumed guilt of the Marines involved in the Haditha "massacre"

review how the media reported faked abuse claims against the military, including faked pictures

NYT exposes money tracking effort to locate terrorists, admits that it is legal and had international cooperation, by exposing it, killed the program
more discussion on terrorist/media

review reports of military killing 'innocent bystanders' or civilians; do the reports ever blame the terrorists for using civilians as shields?

Compare how CNN buried the stories of Saddam's torture chambers (state sanctioned torture) to the stories on Abu Ghraib (criminal acts which in my understanding were only humiliating, not painful, resulting in permanent injury or death, but were nonetheless prosecuted by the military as criminal acts) where they blamed the military/the Bush administration.
They're an official organization that has received media credentials, so sourcing them should be OK.

That's all the time I can spare, but it's a start, hope it helps.

Posted by: NewEnglandDevil at February 12, 2010 12:17 PM

CBS News with Dan Rather used forged documents in an attempt to defeat the re-election of the Commander in Chief of the United States military.

Posted by: Rick at February 12, 2010 12:41 PM

Eason Jordan accused soldiers of targeting journalists

Posted by: Jason at February 12, 2010 02:31 PM

who was a Blue Falcon that wrote all those articles about running over dogs with his Bradley, etc, only to be proven a liar? his publishers refused to take down the stories, and other outlets carried them, and/or used them as the basis for new articles that were anti-GI.

there ought to be some material in that whole fiasco.

Posted by: redc1c4 at February 12, 2010 03:33 PM

Here is another one: Left-leaning publishing an article from a selfish bitch, advocating women to leave their soldier husbands at war. The link I'm providing is to Cassy Fiano's response, which gives it much better content.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at February 12, 2010 03:58 PM

She can research the Tailhook story from many years ago. That ought to get a reaction from her teacher. Volokh's blog has some postings about the distortions by Human Rights Watch.
Don't have time to go find the links now, sorry,

Posted by: AYY at February 13, 2010 03:07 AM

Pressed the button too soon. What I meant by Tailhook is that many of the charges turned out to be false, but you'd never know it from the MSM.
Also I just remembered that during the Israel-Lebanon war there was a major scandal about photoshopped photos making it into the MSM. She ought to be able to find info on that pretty easily.

If media means movies, then she might want to see what James Bowman or Debbie Schlussel have written about movies that are military oriented. Even if she can't use them as direct sources they'll give her ideas she might be able to use.

It seems that even if she can't use blogs as a direct source, some of what they wrote on the MSM handling of military issues made it into other forms of media, so maybe she could start by searching blogs and then seeing if a non-blog source picked it up.

Posted by: AYY at February 13, 2010 03:39 AM

You could mention the case of Mohammed Al Durah and France 2 Television. The case went to court and was widely reported in European news sources.

Pertinent links:

Posted by: Greg Martin at February 13, 2010 10:07 AM

Yes, it's wikipedia. But it has context and most importantly links to news stories about the Scoot Beauchamp scandal. That scandal is a perfect example of the press reflexive hostility to the U.S. military.

Posted by: Brad at February 14, 2010 03:09 PM