Thursday, January 22, 2004

Beyond Baghdad--the Stories The Press Misses 
This is news????

One lousy rocket explodes within a compound that happens to hold the Al Rasheed hotel (where much of the Baghdad press corps lives), hurting nobody, and it warrants its own 231 word Associated Press piece.

My troops got mortared almost every day for months. We got mortared two days ago. We get rocketed a couple of times a week. It's not nearly as often as it once was (which is a story in itself). So where's our 231 word AP piece?

We've had 48 men wounded so far. I don't think any of them got an AP piece devoted to them.

See, while this AP reporter was digging for stories within small-arms range from his hotel room, insurgents launched a mortar attack from Ar Ramadi. I won't be too specific about how we did it, just yet--because I'd like for us to be able to keep doing it. But we had a bit of hi-tech, high altitude help, and were able to follow the car as it drove away from the launch site. When they got home. Even though the crossed a unit boundary (always a tricky thing when it comes to coordination), elements of my battalion's parent unit, the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, but attached to the 82nd Airborne, had the home surrounded within a few minutes of their arrival. I think it was 1-16th.

Four men were arrested. We found a mortar on the premises. All four were positively identified as Fedayeen Saddam members.

If this AP reporter were out in Ramadi, riding with soldiers of the 1-124th, the 1-16th, or the 1-34th, THAT'S the story he would have gotten. Heck, he could even interview the neighbors. But he didn't. He preferred to chase ambulances in the Green Zone. He relied solely on an "Army spokesman."

But what the heck kind of "spokesman" speaks "on condition of anonymity?" About something as lame as that?

Can you see how the news media can distort your perception of reality?

Splash, Out


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