Sunday, May 11, 2008

Media's failure to cover the military

Glenn Greenwald has some interesting coverage of the military analyst scandal. It's a scandal that's not getting much mainstream media coverage because it shows the media in a bad light. Fortunately the blogs are keeping it from disappearing entirely.
Details here:

The short version is that the media has been relying on "independent: military analysts who aren't independent at all, but carefully selected by the administration to push the official line. Those analysts that play along get scoops. Those that don't get marginalized. Greenwald considers the whole thing to amount to an illegal domestic propaganda campaign. I'm not sure it rises to that level, as one rather expects the government to put the best face on things.

Who is to blame for this is the mainstream media. Considering that the country is involved in not one, but two full-scale wars,. that have been going on for years, one would think the media would be paying more attention to military reporting.

Of course, they don't. The general level of military and war reporting is abysmal. There are handful of people doing good work, mostly on the ground in the war zone, but the stateside background stuff is awful. There's a general lack of a critical eye and ear to official pronouncements and often no attempt at all to find some alternative voices.

The mainstream media has been failing to do its job on this issue, partially out of ignorance and quite a bit out of arrogance. Reporters often pride themselves on being able to report on anything, but there are some fields that really do require special levels of knowledge and can't be safely entrusted to GA reporters. An obvious one anyone can understand is sports. That's an entirely special operation in every news source because you've got to know what you are talking about and when you don't it's obvious.

Other special knowledge beats include business and science. The military is also a special knowledge beat that's not suitable to the GA approach.

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