Maybe all the ink they devoted to Abu Ghraib for 2 months straight squeezed it out.
August 06, 2005
A New York Times Mystery
Today, Damien Cave, in the New York Times, wonders Where Are the War Heroes? The reporter describes the incredible exploits of a few of our military men and women in Iraq; truly their behavior defines "heroism".
ONE soldier fought off scores of elite Iraqi troops in a fierce defense of his outnumbered Army unit, saving dozens of American lives before he himself was killed. Another soldier helped lead a team that killed 27 insurgents who had ambushed her convoy. And then there was the marine who, after being shot, managed to tuck an enemy grenade under his stomach to save the men in his unit, dying in the process.
Cave is puzzled by the lack of attention paid to these heroes. Yet his second paragraph is a marvel of rationalization and externalization.
Their names are Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester and Sgt. Rafael Peralta. If you have never heard of them, even in a week when more than 20 marines were killed in Iraq by insurgents, that might be because the military, the White House and the culture at large have not publicized their actions with the zeal that was lavished on the heroes of World War I and World War II.
The emphasis is mine. Can you tell what is missing in the mention of "the military, the White House, and the culture at large", that might have some ability to publicize heroism of this order?
The bias of the media is often overt, shown in their choice of headlines and the slanting of articles with carefully calibrated modifiers (conservatives are usually "far right" while the far left is usually depicted as moderate and never called "far left"), and various other tricks of the trade; however, its most egregious bias is shown by its choice of what not to treat as news. Thus, the MSM can avoid the Swiftboat charges until they had no choice but to mention them (because Kerry mentioned the charges and the loyal MSM then had to try to negate and undermine them). The Times has still not addressed the Air America-Gloria Wise scandal, which seems like a big deal. And how many investigative stories has the Times done on the UN Oil for Food scandal?
If most Americans have never heard of Sgts. Smith, Hester, and Peralta, perhaps it is because the New York Times and the rest of the MSM have ignored the stories. Those of us who surf the blogosphere, including the Milblogs, have had ample opportunities to read about and marvel at the exploits of these wonderful young men and women. Unfortunately, most Americans still get their news from the MSM.
Cave offers some feeble explanations for the lack of awareness of the public of these men and women.
Many in the military are disheartened by the absence of an instantly recognizable war hero today, a deficiency with a complex cause: public opinion on the Iraq war is split, and drawing attention to it risks fueling opposition; the military is more reluctant than it was in the last century to promote the individual over the group; and the war itself is different, with fewer big battles and more and messier engagements involving smaller units of Americans. Then, too, there is a celebrity culture that seems skewed more to the victim than to the hero.
Who would use the heroic deaths of Sgts. Smith and Peralta, or the courage of Sgt. Hester as weapons to use against the war? Who would lead with the charge that using the deaths of Americans in battle would be shameful "politicizing the war" by the "far right" Bush administration? Who would raise questions about a woman soldier killing so many Iraqis, perhaps including the innocent civilians who always seem to be found by the MSM when they want to undermine our prosecution of the war? Who would print sad editorials concluding that the deaths of Peralta and Smith just show how wasteful it is for our young people to die in a misguided war?
If you guessed the New York Times would be in the forefront of those trying to discredit these heroes and use them against the administration, you would be absolutely correct. I regret that I canceled my subscription to the Times two years ago... but only because I can not now cancel them again.