The media again attacks the military

I came of age in the post-Vietnam era.  Let me amend that:  I came of age in San Francisco in the post-Vietnam era.  Although Fleet Week, which started in the City about 20+ years ago has done a lot to turn things around, San Francisco has not been a military friendly city, and most definitely was not so in the decade after Vietnam.  Every institution was hostile to the military.  I grew up knowing, probably from the San Francisco Comical, with increasingly large dollops of help from ABC, NBC and CBS, that military vets were deranged.

This was my first run-in with cognitive dissonance.  You see, I knew a ton of military vets.  The difference was that they weren’t Vietnam Vets but were, instead, WWII and Israeli War Vets.  And they weren’t deranged.  At all.  Many of them were sad men, who had seen too much, but they were all highly functional men who married, raised children, held jobs, and helped out a lot around the house.  My parents explained to me that Vietnam Vets were deranged because they were all drug addicts, except that didn’t make sense either.  The drug addicts I knew (and I was in San Francisco and at Berkeley) weren’t the vets; instead, they were the ones that had stayed behind.

Hmmm.  The first step in crossing the Rubicon was figuring out that the media has the military in its cross hairs.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

The latest casualty of the media’s war on the military is living Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer.  Although the McClatchy news organization readily concedes that he acted with unparalleled bravery, it’s making a big push to say he didn’t really act with that much bravery.  This story stinks for a few reasons.  First, it leaves a strong impression that Meyer lied, although a careful textual reading shows that it’s really claiming that the Marine Corps itself exaggerated.  The Marines shouldn’t have exaggerated, but this story still should have been left alone.  Why?  Because as Jack Cashill explains, this kind of attack on an extraordinarily brave young man manages to highlight what an absymal job the media is doing when it comes to its main job — namely, keeping the public informed about its leaders and keeping politicians honest.

Think about it:  this is a media that tries to destroy the reputation of one indubitably brave, decent man, while it kept us in the dark in 2007 and 2008 about Obama’s entire history and, even now, is doing its best to bury such interesting stories as Fast and Furious (which the blogosphere cares about, but the MSM has ignored almost entirely) or Solyndra (ditto).

I shouldn’t really be so surprised or angry, I guess.  This disdain for and hostility towards the military is reflexive and pervasive in our media.  But I can’t help it.  It still hacks me off.

(P.S.  I do suggest, though, that military types don’t do things like this.  It’s one thing to do your job and get savaged by idiots.  It’s another thing to hand them red meat on a silver platter.)

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  • Oldflyer

    I haven’t read any of the stories on this, and do not intend to.
    I have been tasked at times to write award recommendations, and have written many personnel evaluations; the Navy uses the rather arcane title “Fitness Reports” for Officers.  There is no doubt that when you write these things, if you want them approved, or if you want the Officer promoted, that you write in the most favorable light.  In fact you may choose prose that embellishes the narrative.  t.  Surprise!  But, in doing so you  stay within the bounds of honesty, and maintain consistency.   Is it different in the civilian world?
    The Marine Corps, of the services, has never had a reputation for exaggerating, nor for being overly generous with its awards.
    So, I agree that it is simply unconscionable to  disparage an individual’s actions, and the resulting award, in this manner.  All other considerations aside, how does a person who was not present evaluate whether the actions which were acknowledged to be exceptional, deserve the highest award, or only the second highest award?  Ridiculous. 
    All of this being said, there is no doubt that the  award system is susceptible to a certain amount of corruption; I point to John Kerry’s multiple Purple Hearts and Silver Star (the third highest award for gallantry) as perfect examples of how it can be manipulated by dishonest people.  If a story questioning the military award system was the intent, the writer would have been better served to  use that travesty as an example.

  • David Foster

    I think many media types, like many academics, have high status-anxiety, and are basically threatened by any recognition given to anyone who is unlike them.

  • Michael Adams

    Should you be surprised?  Of course not. Is your anger justified?  Hell, yeah!

  • jnb

    You are certainly right that San Francisco was not a military friendly city post Vietnam. It wasn’t very friendly during the Vietnam war either. 
    I came home from Vietnam in 1971, and ended up at the SF airport waiting for a flight home. I arrived dog tired.  It took me a day to travel from Hue, where I was stationed, to Tan Son Nhut Airbase in Saigon, where I waited for several days to get on a flight.  I was up day and night so if I ever got on a flight list, I wouldn’t miss it.  Then I wasted nearly whole a day at Oakland Army Base because the Army decided I was in the wrong uniform (I had khakis, and I need greens.)
    When I finally got to the SF airport, there was only one flight home and I had a long wait for it. So I headed upstairs to a restaurant, where I intended to get a steak dinner to celebrate my arrival back in the States. 
    I waited and waited —  but there never seemed to be a table available. Maybe they served only officers; I was a Sgt. at the time.  More likely, they didn’t want anyone in uniform.  After a long wait, and after seeing others go in, I caught on and went back downstairs to a bar filled with other GIs.  I’ll never forget one man, an older man, very well dressed, with cowboy boots and a huge belt buckle with steer horns on it. He bought every GI at the bar a drink. Perhaps more than one. As I told the other GIs about the restaurant, they urged me to go back, and several offered to go with me.  So I did.
    This time, I told the receptionist that if he didn’t seat me, I’d go back to the bar I had just come from and bring up some of my friends.   Maybe the restaurant didn’t want to take a chance with one of those “crazy Vietnam Vets” who was half-drunk to boot.  They finally put me at a table all the way in the back, just outside swinging doors to the kitchen. The steak came quickly too — Clearly they wanted me out of there as fast as possible.
    Fortunately, I was too tired and too drunk to respond to the sneers and snickers as I passed through the airport on the way to my gate.
    As for the Marine Corps exaggerating, it was well known in those days among GIs that they didn’t. That may have changed, but I doubt it.

  • Ymarsakar

    If it was up to me, I would have half the media corps put up against a wall and executed. They’re very lucky I’m not the one with deeds to their soul.

    Actions must have consequences, or else evil has no reason not to let itself out. Btw, journalists bend knee at even the sight of racist accusations against them or Islamic jihad threats. And they dare to tell us they know what is and isn’t valor?

    When they’re put up against the wall, I will be sure to educate them on what is and is not reality.