Saturday, December 18, 2004

Disagreeing With Two Insulting Comments

One of the nice things about this blog is that both the author and those who comment can say anything they please. There is no censorship. But I will disagree sometimes with comments I regard as outrageous. Two have come in recently, both from persons who remain "anonymous," as is their right.

Early this morning, someone commented, "RE: Why the news media wants the United States military to fail.

"Because," the respondent writes, "the news media is made up of failures who hate--HATE--success. And if a few military personnel get killed, so much the better. The news media is made up of draft dodgers and traitors to the United States of America."

This is horseshit. The leading journalists in America are not failures, they are successes, with, in many cases, handsome salaries.

As for "draft dodgers and traitors," I know many people at The Los Angeles Times and other media who have served proudly in the military, whose children are serving, and who have rooted for the United States (and usually Britain and other allies) in numerous wars.

Just for the record, Times editor Frank Sotomayor's son, an Army company commander, served 15 months in Baghdad in dangerous transportation and supply assignments, winning a medal for bravery in a combat situation in the process. My own son, a Lieutenant JG in the Navy, decided to go into the service two days after 9-11. He is assigned presently in Washington. Both young men are well educated and have held non-military employment. They didn't have to go in to the military, but they did.

Even many Times colleagues who have been critical of the Iraq invasion by the U.S. military, which is their right as citizens of a free country, still admire our troops. I never heard anyone at the paper celebrate in any way when hearing that a U.S. soldier was killed.

This said, I do think that often news personnel tend to be pessimists, don't appreciate sufficiently that war is a long drawn out process, marked by many mistakes and disappointments. The big newspapers were often prematurely downhearted in the Civil War and other conflicts in our history, so present downheartedness is not new.

I think, as I said in an earlier blog, that it's important for all who work for newspapers and other media to realize that if the nation's enemies win in this situation the impact on American freedoms and traditions could be devastating. The press, as much as any institution in American life, relies on our freedoms as the very basis of its own livelihood.

Also, sometime ago, I had a message from another anonymous person who made the statement that The Times covers local news "only west of La Brea."

This is utter bunk, as anyone picking up any copy of The Times can establish for him or herself each day.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments about the Yankee newspapers coverage of the Civil War are well taken. The similarities between caricatures of President Lincoln by Democratic-leaning newspapers at that time are very similar to the caricatures of President Bush by liberal-leaning newspapers in the 2004 election.

However, for completeness, you should also compare how Generals Grant, Sherman, Burnside, Sheridan and others dealt with newspaper correspondents, particularly those who had a habit of irritating these officers, with the way military officers treat correspondents today. Big difference!

12/19/2004 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, FWIW, I've worked most of my life in the media, pretty much all my working life, with the notable exception of the four years I spent in the USAF.

The other exception being two years in politics, working for Vietnam Vet who was elected to the state Assembly, and who's chief political nemesis was a right-wing Republican who was my age and did everything he could to avoid military service.

Also, several of my current co-workers are veterans.

12/20/2004 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a (almost) lifelong Valley resident of 42 years, the statement about the Times not caring about issues outside its "desired" area is so true. Since the closing of the Valley bureau, the coverage of Valley issues has diminished to the point of almost none. Except when the downtown power interests want something or something killed.

On the news side, I would question how many of the "journalists" actually know where the San Fernando or San Gabriel Valleys are.

12/20/2004 2:46 PM  
Blogger ...Joe Shea said...

The Times used to have a Westside section that was pretty newsy, but the fact that they had to run it twice a week to make up for the lack of coverage the rest of the time is evidence it did not cover the Westside well. It hardly covers the Valley at all.
Why not just go through the index of stories on the Website each day for 10 days to pick out how many iof the top non-crime stories originate outside Downtown.

12/22/2004 12:41 AM  
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