Monday, November 24, 2003

Associated Press Blows It 
Memo to the Associated Press: If you’re going to put someone out there on the military beat, at least make sure that he knows the difference between a soldier and a marine.

Case in point:

"The frenzy recalled the October 1993 scene in Somalia, when locals dragged the bodies of Marines killed in fighting with warlords through the streets."


The men dragged through the streets of Mogadishu were members of the U.S. Army. Their names were Thomas Field and William Cleveland, to be exact. They were both soldiers, although as Blackhawk crewmembers, the term 'aviator' would also have been correct. But they were not marines. In American usage, a marine is a member of the United States Marine Corps. Period. In an international story, the word ‘marine’ can also refer to any member of another country’s naval infantry arm of service, such as the Royal Marines. But ‘marine’ is never properly used to refer to a member of the U.S. Army, or any other non-naval or non-amphibious army. A member of an army is called a ‘soldier.’

Again, this a very common error. I see it most often in photo captions. I’ve even seen it on the cover of the New York Times. But it’s something any veteran anywhere in the editorial or fact-checking chain could easily have caught and corrected.

Newspapers have gone to great lengths, in the name of newsroom diversity, to include women, minorities, gays and lesbians, and people with handicaps. Coverage has improved for it, and readers have benefited. But too many in the press still have cultural blinders on when it comes to covering military people and their families.

When will editors finally get serious about seeking out and recruiting veterans for the newsroom?

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!