They Just Don’t Get It

I found this interview of Bill Roggio by Christian Science Monitor reporter Mike Chinni here. It is worth reading the whole thing to see the overall context to see that I have not excerpted it in an unfair fashion. What seems obvious to me as an observer of the media is that the press for a variety of reasons I have discussed before are being effectively manipulated by the enemy. I spend a lot of time wondering why they have difficulty admitting it. In the interview Bill Roggio asks Chinni point blank why the media don’t see that they are participants and being manipulated by the enemy. Chinni demonstrates by his response that he has no answer. Perhaps he doesn’t see it, or more tellingly want to see it. Here is Roggio providing a typical example of the MSM using a meme or template and showing how it serves the enemy’s purpose.

The Ramadi template has played out numerous times in Iraq. After a big operation in Tal Afar, the situation improved dramatically in the northern city. Tal Afar was declared a model of success by President Bush. Al Qaeda decided to pull off an occasional suicide attack in the city, so it could hang Tal Afar around the president’s neck like an albatross. When attacks occur, you read, “A suicide attack killed X and wounded Y in Tal Afar, a city President Bush declared a model of success in Iraq….”Does this mean Ramadi or Tal Afar are perfectly secure cities? No. But progress there has been dramatic, and there are only reports if something goes wrong. That is exactly what Al Qaeda in Iraq wishes to achieve.

Like it or not, the media is a part of the battlefield. Why do the media refuse to recognize their role as participants – even if passive – in this war?

And here is the response:

Chinni: But regardless of who is doing the killing, it seems killing itself is the point now. So if attacks succeed in fomenting more violence, isn’t it possible the violence itself may be more significant than who is behind it?

There is some truth to your point on the media’s role as a participant. But doesn’t the media’s job include reporting those attacks? If you’re saying the media aren’t getting the whole picture, I doubt anyone would argue. Iraq, or any drawn-out insurgency, is close to impossible to grasp in its entirety, particularly in real time.

And there is a lot of bad news in Iraq beyond bombings. As the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index statistically shows, the country’s schools and health system are in trouble, and unemployment is about 30 percent.

I’m gob smacked. Chinni doesn’t respond at all the the question about the effect of typical MSM war reporting. He just repeats the false assumption behind the quagmire template that it doesn’t matter who is doing the killing or why! And then goes right back to reinforcing that the media is just doing its job by reporting these things without acknowledging context or the enemy’s motives. Does Chinni have any idea what would have happened to a reporter in WWII who tried to do this kind of thing to FDR? Isn’t is obvious that there is a particular political culture every bit as conformist as the political culture in the media in WWII? Isn’t it likewise obvious that Bill Roggio is on the Net and popular precisely because he wouldn’t even get shortlisted for a job as a military reporter in the MSM? In fact I know of no military reporters in the MSM who actually understand counterinsurgency or even military operations in general. They are all political reporters and I am afraid they are simply using the raw material of the war to fight a domestic political battle and don’t even notice the degree to which they are supporting the enemy in the process.

In a National Examiner article Lorie Byrd quoted evidence from both Bill Roggio and Michael Yon – the other outstanding military reporter on the Net – that the enemy media strategy is confirmed by captured documents and widespread.

An aspect of the war on terrorism that gets too little attention, yet is as important as any other, is the media war. Whether they realize it, members of the mainstream media are participants in the war on terrorism, and nowhere is that more evident than in Iraq.

Blogger Bill Roggio, who has embedded as a journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan, says the enemy’s documents reveal that much of their strategy revolves around manipulation of the media. An enemy unable to beat us on the battlefield is employing a strategy of attacks planned specifically for maximum media coverage and effect.

And here is Byrd’s account of Michael Yon’s observation on the British withdrawal from Southern Iraq:

Journalist Michael Yon describes a similar attempt to manipulate the media. “As the British increase their forces in Afghanistan, they are drawing down in Iraq. Although the drawdown in Iraq is based on pragmatism, the enemy apparently is attempting to create the perception of a military rout. So while the British reduce their forces in southern Iraq, they are coming under heavier fire and the enemy makes claims of driving ‘the occupiers’ out.’

When the history of this period is written the media will have a lot to answer for. It is normal for the press to support the culture it is part of. The West is deeply divided as we all know, but it is one thing to be critical and quite another to turn a blind eye to being used by the enemy.

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