June 13, 2006

Valor Blind


From The Los Angeles Times: In this paper, war heroes are MIA by Frank Schaeffer. (via TIA Daily)

[I]f the "chattering classes" ever wonder why those of us in the military family sometimes bitterly resent the media, they need look no further than the "Haditha story." What bothers me is that I haven't seen one recent story dedicated to the heroism of our troops given such consistent prominence in The Times or other leading papers. Nor have I read a front-page headline about a military medal ceremony and the story behind it, although every year I see front-page treatment in The Times of who wins the Oscars. ...

The prominence of stories about military malfeasance, absent stories about military heroism, creates an out-of-whack impression. When it comes to reporting on the military, it's as if we're back in the 1950s, only this time the media prejudice and insensitivity are aimed at military service rather than race. In the 1950s, you rarely saw a story about an African American unless he or she committed a crime or was portrayed with condescension as a victim. ...

What I would like to see is acts of military heroism regarded once again as newsworthy. Here is one story that would have merited a front-page headline if the editorial values of this paper were less dismissive of military valor.

Staff Sgt. Anthony L. Viggiani is one of the recently distinguished heroes of the Marine Corps. On Feb. 24, he was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions in Afghanistan in June 2004. Viggiani had been fighting Taliban remnants who were killing teachers and burning girls' schools. He led his men in combat after being wounded. He chased down and killed or captured the enemy. He humanely tended to the wounded enemy fighters he had been fighting moments before. He led his men to safety and honor. Was a Times reporter sent to cover the medal ceremony and to report on what lay behind it? If not, why not? Whose values dictate that winning a Navy Cross is less important than a Pulitzer, an Oscar or a PEN award?

Here is the Marines news release about Viggiani: DI awarded Navy Cross for actions in Afghanistan.

From the Media Research Center: Touting Military Misdeeds, Hiding Heroes. (via Hot Air)

While ABC, CBS and NBC have chosen to highlight this potential scandal, a new Media Research Center study finds those same networks have given far less attention to the heroic deeds of the 20 members of the U.S. military who have received the highest recognition for bravery since the war on terror began. In fact, 14 of the country's top 20 medal recipients have gone unmentioned by ABC, CBS and NBC. ...

None have been given more than a fraction of the attention that the latest allegations against the military have received. And while the networks have told of acts of heroism by others in the military with Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester of the Kentucky National Guard getting the most coverage among those honored with a Silver Star none of those other positive stories have interested the networks as much as news of possible military misconduct.

UPDATE -- June 15: Stars and Stripes helps fill the void left by the MSM: Heroes: A Nation Honors Valor in the War on Terror. (via TIA Daily)

Posted by Forkum at June 13, 2006 04:25 PM