Friday, March 21, 2008

Reporters and the military 
Robert Bateman on media incompetence:

My hobby-horse has only two legs, “education” and “experience.” Unfortunately, prior to 2003, in the general field of “the media” those legs did not support the body, which I call “military knowledge.” (Or “knowledge of the military”) In other words, right up until we actually went to war there was damned little personal knowledge or experience with things military among the overwhelming majority of reporters. Up until 2001 it would appear that most people would say, “so what?” Well, I suggest that it was this lack of knowledge and understanding, both in the media and among the people of Congress, which muted discussion or debate prior to our current conflicts.

I am not saying that this is right or wrong. That is for all of you to decide. But it would appear that in the absence of deep knowledge of military history, the present-day military, and things like military doctrine, there were not nearly enough reporters who were able to cogently examine public pronouncements about the use of force and frame useful follow-on questions for deeply reported stories. Stories which, in theory, would help educate the American public before the decision on the use of force was made. Indeed, though I have no formal study which contains hard numbers (Greg, help me out here) my own interactions with journalists over the past couple decades seems to suggest that only a vanishingly few have any real experience with the military. And covering the military, or writing about the planned use of military force, is not like covering the local town council meeting. This state of unpreparedness, I submit, is at least partially a fault of our journalism education system.

On another site, “Wired Journalists,” I did an informal survey of a few dozen journalism programs (a few dozen is moderately significant in journalism school terms), and not a single one had a course, or an instructor, which dealt exclusively with covering the military or war or issues of that ilk. Does this matter? That, again, is for you to decide. But this is 2008…and we have been in conflict for more than six years, and not a single one of those journalism programs thought to add a course on the topic?

Read the whole thing.

The comments, which are essentially a circus of articulate libtards making excuses for their rank ignorance - and Bateman no doubt trying to restrain himself from pointing out how hopelessly stupid and obtuse they are (I have less patience for fools than he does) are particularly illuminating.

Splash, out


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I could not believe the commenters who equated covering the military and the war with covering the crime beat or the city council. Where do these people come from anyway. Bad enough they don't seem to teach ethics in the J-schools but they don't even seem to teach much of anything else either. Guess that is why I have essentially stopped even bothering with the newspapers. Since I live in NYC, not reading the papers has done wonders for my blood pressure and general disposition. I haven't broken a cup throwing it at the television in months now.
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