Saturday, September 18, 2004

More Military Cluelessness in the Media 
Here's an email to Jonah Goldberg from an unnamed Air Force officer, who was frustrated at the failure of a TV news production crew to correct an obvious uniform gaffe when a USAF LTC went on the air with one of his shoulderboard ranks on backwards.

(Ok, it's not the news crew's job to police uniform regs. But if there were a veteran of any rank anywhere in the room, he would have caught it instantly, and it's a quick fix.)

Anyway, from the email:

I’d feel a bit better if the so-called “military correspondents” could learn the difference between self-propelled artillery and tanks (which have significantly different military utility), would know the rank structure well enough to address sergeants-major as “Sergeant Major” rather than “Sergeant” (which the newest of recruits understands by Day 2 of basic training, along with all the other forms of address from “Private” to “Mr. President”), and that the rifles fired at a military funeral are not a “21-gun salute”, but are from an older tradition of firing three volleys over a grave to signify the conclusion of a battlefield truce to succor the wounded and bury the dead.

The press tries to hire science reporters with some science background to help explain stories to the non-scientist public, but when it comes to covering those of us sworn to defend the nation, the media organizations send reporters who couldn’t readily identify an A-10 and an F-15 if they were standing next to them. Nor do those reporters seem to care to research the issues beforehand. After all, they could learn most of what they wanted to know just by going online and reading the fact sheets from the service Web pages. I guess immersing themselves in a military history course or interviewing content, professional soldiers to gain background information just isn’t as satisfying as spending a (well-publicized after the fact) weekend sleeping on the streets to “truly understand the homeless question”.

Well, I confess I didn't know that about the military funeral tradition and truces.

Lots more on this subject from Garfield Ridge, a new blog from someone who has something to do with the military-information complex in Washington DC. Actually, he's got several posts up on the Iraq war and victory criteria which are interesting and thought provoking, despite having cited me a couple of times. Check him hout.

Splash, out


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