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COVERING THE MILITARY THE RIGHT WAY

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 27, 2005 01:37 PM

Stephen Spruiell at The Media Blog highlights the new Pew Research survey showing the American public’s dissatisfaction with MSM coverage of the military. Writes Spruiell:

This rising dissatisfaction with press coverage of the military doesn’t mean, however, that the public wants the press to become a propaganda outlet for the Pentagon. A large majority consistently agrees that “neutral” coverage of the war is better than coverage that is explicitly “pro-American,” but the public simply doesn’t think it is getting neutral coverage. Public perceptions of political bias in the press are up to 60 percent from 53 percent in 2003, and 72 percent think the press “favors one side in politics.”

These numbers combined with declining favorability ratings for all news media suggest that it is time for a reorientation in the way the press covers the military. This study suggests that almost half of the population thinks that press coverage of the military — suspicious, cynical, focused on the negative — is weakening the nation’s defenses. In order to realign themselves with their audiences’ priorities, the news media must start treating critics of the military with the same skepticism they apply to Pentagon spokesmen.

The New York Times now acknowledges its shortcomings. According to E&P, executive editor Bill Keller has announced a new “diversity” initiative:

The aim, he wrote, is “to stretch beyond our predominantly urban, culturally liberal orientation, to cover the full range of our national conversation.”

The point, Keller wrote, “is not that we should begin recruiting reporters and editors for their political outlook; it is part of our professional code that we keep our political views out of the paper. The point is that we want a range of experience. We have a recruiting committee that tracks promising outside candidates, and that committee has already begun to consider ways to enrich the variety of backgrounds of our reporters and editors.

“First and foremost we hire the best reporters, editors, photographers and artists in the business. But we will make an extra effort to focus on diversity of religious upbringing and military experience, of region and class.”

Laughably too little, and much too late. The MSM has been left in the dust by milbloggers and alternative media. Who needs the NYT with far superior reportage and analysis from the likes of Austin Bay, Michael Yon, Mudville Gazette, Blackfive, Belmont Club, and Victor Davis Hanson–for starters–available at your fingertips?

On a related note, my friend Buzz Patterson, in conjunction with Move America Forward, is headed to Baghdad with 10 other radio talk show hosts from July 10th through July 15th to give you the straight scoop on the progress being made in Iraq.

Cassandra at Villanous Company (who would have a column on the NY Times op-ed page in place of the insipid Maureen Dowd if there were justice in the world) has more details.

Update: Iowa bloggers are covering a related MSM screw-up by an anti-war columnist. First, read the controversial column here. Then read here and here for the real story.

Update II: Lisa at Two Babes and a Brain weighs in on impatience, overlooked facts, and some examples of what victory looks like.

Update III: Part 30 of Arthur Chrenkoff’s indispensable series, Good News from Iraq, is up.

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