Saturday, May 21, 2005

Patriotism and the New York Times

John Podhoretz offers some choice citations from the MSM over the hysteria surrounding the Newsweek scandal.

You saw [one reporter from] The New York Times get in on the action: "Are you asking [Newsweek] to write a story about how great the American military is? Is that what you're saying here?"

I don't know what exactly the White House meant to imply...but, yes, that's exactly the kind of story the NY Times should be writing.

When the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls, honest sports writers write stories about how great the Patriots are.

When the Yankees win yet another World Series, honest baseball columnists write about how great the Yankees are.

When Michael Jordan and the Bulls win six NBA titles, basketball reporters write about how great Chicago is.

And any newspaper reporters who don't realize that the American military has succeeded in defending freedom with a brilliance that makes any sports analogy look sorry--well, they should just burn their journalism degrees because they clearly haven't learned anything from them.

During the period of World War II, American reporters had no difficulty writing about how great the American armed forces were. America's fighting men were written up as the heroes they were, and the Pentagon was known as the Arsenal of Democracy. The American military had saved the world from Nazism, and American reporters were grateful and appreciative.

No more.

Since Vietnam, the American press has repeatedly pictured the Defense Department as only one step removed from fascism. The heroes that toppled a vicious dictatorship in Afghanistan in mere weeks were forgotten. The men and women who cleaned a genocidal dictator out of Baghdad in days were ignored. The press relabeled Iraqi terrorists as "insurgents", and looked for every opportunity to smear the military and sympathize with the terrorists. Heroism in the military was rarely covered, and got placed on the back pages when it did--Abu Ghraib was front-page headlines for weeks on end. That kind of slant was something that you never saw from the World War II generation of journalists--who knew full well that the military makes mistakes, but never allowed that to overshadow the honour, valour, and victories of America's armed forces.

We speak of the World War II generation as the greatest generation--and they were. But they had the privilege of fighting in an era when the press could be counted on to be loyal to the troops who died for the freedoms that the press celebrated. The truth is that FDR and his generals would have had an extremely difficult time defeating Nazism if they had had to deal on a daily basis with the current generation of journalists.

We are privileged in 2005 to be defended by an American military that has defeated the enemies of freedom with remarkable swiftness, with a casualty rate dramatically below that of World War II, and with unprecedented success at limiting the inevitable tragedy of casualties among the civilian population of the nations we are fighting.

That the NY Times now has reporters who think it incredible that American journalists should write articles about how great the US military is shows how far the MSM has slipped. This is a generation of journalists with graduate degrees, but little judgment; high intelligence, but low values. A generation ago, CS Lewis summarized their ethos perfectly: they think that the ultimate value in life is bread, and the ultimate source of bread is the baker's van; peace matters more than honour, and can be preserved by jeering at generals.

And their ethos explains much about why fewer Americans read or listen to or respect what the MSM says.

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