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Front Page » January 18, 2005 » Opinion » Letter to the Editor: News media use same tactics
Published 3,378 days ago

Letter to the Editor: News media use same tactics


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By PAUL YOUNG
St. George

Editor,

News Media Uses the Same Tactics on Rumsfeld as they did on General George S. Patton.

It is a sad day in court when the news media, the printed and the spoken word, takes only a part of a talk or comment from a well known public individual and uses only a part of a phrase from the comment of the person speaking that distorts the true facts, meaning and intent from what the person actually said and meant.

The news media and the TV, printed or spoken, gave in detail the exact words Spc. Wilson raised in questioning Secretary Rumsfeld about the lack of armor plate on their equipment. When he stated "A lot of us are ready to move north relatively soon. Our vehicles are not armored. We're digging pieces of rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that has already been shot up...to put on our vehicles to take into combat. We do not have proper armament on our vehicles to carry us north." The news media printed exactly word for word what Wilson spoke. This is want we read or heard on the leading TV reporting and in all the leading newspapers.

Here is the answer that was printed by Secretary Rumsfeld. "As you know, you go to war with the army you might wish to have at a later time?"

Was the Secretary caught off guard? No, here in fact is how he responded, all 261 words, to Spc. Wilson's now famous query.

"I talked to the general coming out here about the pace at which the vehicles are being armored. They have been brought from all over the world, wherever they're not needed, to a place here where they are needed. I'm told that they are being...the army is...I think it's something like 400 a month being done. And it's essentially a matter of physics. It isn't a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the army of desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, you go to war with the army you have. They're not the army you might wish to have at a later time. Since the Iraq conflict began, the army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate they...believe is a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously-but at any rate they believe it is all that can be accomplished at the moment. I can assure you that General Schoolmaker and the leadership in the army and certainly General Whitcome are sensitive to the fact that not every vehicle has a degree of armor that would be desirable for it to have but they're working on it at a good clip. The goal we have is to have as many of those vehicles as is humanly possible with the appropriate level of armor available for our troops. And that is what the army has been working on."

Does this sound like the grotesque portrait of Rumsfeld the news media would have you picture him to be?

This is the same tactic that the same news media used on General George S. Patton many times. The news media would have the public believe Patton was the poorest general in the European Theater. Yet he covered more miles, took more prisoners, and was the only general in the entire European Theater of Operations that could turn his army 90 degrees in 48 hours and launch a counter offensive against Hitler's counter attack driving for Antwerp, Belgium, which was the Allied forces main supply base. Had Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt made it to Antwerp, the war could have been prolonged for three-four years. All Allied troops in Europe would have run out of fuel, ammunition, food and clothing.

But, the German counter offensive was stopped temporarily by the 101st Airborne troops who held Bastogne, Belgium, blocking Von Rundstedt's drive. Referred to as the Battle of the Bulge, it was Patton's army that turned that battle around. We then headed for Berlin, Germany. General Patton's third army had the least casualties killed or wounded than any of the other army's generals, but the news media would not let the public know the facts.

Rumsfeld talked to about 2,300 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and civilian laborers at Camp Buehring in Northern Kuwait. Contrary to the media, the troops were warm and receptive. They cheered and applauded his remarks in response to their questions, gave him standing ovations, and crowded around him for 45 minutes shaking his hand and taking pictures.

Would it not be a nice thing to have a news media written or spoken, that quoted the truth all the time and not part of the time? The new media was not upset or stunned nor did they mention that the question had been prompted by an embedded reporter, Edward Lee Pitts of the Chattanooga Time Free Press. The Washington Post, The New York Times, and radio and TV networks ran the events for two days. A week later the issues of Times and Newsweek were still misreporting Rumsfeld's answer to Spc. Wilson's question.

On Dec. 15, the Weekly Standard editor, nearly a week after the print media had twisted Rumsfeld's reply, unleashed a long lamentation against the defense secretary, using the same false quote as his text.

Doesn't anyone, especially the news media, read the original transcripts any more? Apparently an eye or ear catching comment is of more importance to the news media than telling the plain facts and letting the public form their own opinions. But, this is impossible for many have come to know and understand the news media only tells the true facts some of the time, definitely not all the time.


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January 18, 2005
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