Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Media Lies - What's A Blogger To Do?

The New York Times, CBS News, the Associated Press, and The New Republic. What do they have in common?

They publish lies dressed up as news.

Bloggers obviously don’t have the resources of the major news media. We don’t have employees educated and trained as investigative reporters, supported by voluminous files and archives, overseen by seasoned editors. You name just about anything the main stream media has, we bloggers don’t have it.

However, when you compare the knowledge and experience of the blogosphere on specific issues compared to what the main stream media can apply to them, bloggers have an overwhelming advantage.

The most dramatic illustration of this point was the blogosphere vs. 60 Minutes and the forged Texas Air National Guard papers. Bloggers were able to marshal vast expertise examining the forged documents that 60 Minutes had neither the means nor the will to access.

Recently I’ve found myself engaged in unequal combat with elements of the main stream media, and I must modestly admit that they were “no contests,” and that I emerged victorious without breaking a sweat – or spending a buck.

I also humbly admit that very few know of my victories, including the main stream media I so thoroughly trounced. My satisfaction is that of putting a fly in their ointment. I’ve noticed that when the subjects I posted on are Googled, my article pops up along with the offending one.

For example, when the title of a November CBS News article entitled “Suicide Epidemic among Veterans” is Googled, my post totally debunking their article by proving the veteran suicide rate is lower than the rate for average citizens, and for nations such as France and Japan, appears as the fourth item on the search page following their tale.

Similarly, when “New York Times veteran murder rates” is Googled, my post disproving the New York Time’s article, in which I demonstrate that the veteran’s murder rate ranges from one-half to one-fifth of many American cities, and is even lower when you take women, children, and old men out of the comparison, appears as the third item on the Google search page.

My recent post exposing the Associated Press for fraudulently reporting that the Heritage Foundation ranked Europe as the economically freest region of the world hasn’t had a chance yet to attain first page Google search ranking because the AP release is still showing up as a fresh “news” item in many newspapers. It’s a shame, since it is so patently wrong and misleading, but the AP is not subjected to intense review by the main stream media that disseminate their releases.

Bloggers have to do it for them.

Not long ago a swarm of bloggers including me jumped all over The New Republic for publishing lurid and defamatory stories written by Private Scott Beauchamp supposedly based on his ongoing experiences in Iraq entitled “Baghdad Diarist.” Since many experienced Army veterans meticulously exposed gaping flaws in Beauchamp’s stories, I decided that since I’m an Air Force veteran with little or no knowledge of Army equipment and practices, I would concentrate on things that could be fact checked on the Internet without ever leaving Gualala, Northern California.

It was easy to decide that stories about joy riding in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and using it to kill stray dogs were ones that any editor, regardless of military experience or lack thereof, should have easily been able to determine were untrue. All that was needed was to Google “Bradley Fighting Vehicle,” and compare its picture to the descriptions of killing the dogs.

Even a great fool would have noticed that the 21-inch wide treads of this thirty-ton vehicle were incapable of neatly slicing a dog in two, as described by Private Beauchamp. Looking at the picture, the great fool would also notice that the driver, sitting low at the left front, couldn’t possibly see a dog at the right rear, let alone make precise changes of speed and direction to do the impossible and ensnare the dog in its tracks.

Although reported otherwise by the editor of The New Republic, a spokesman for the manufacturer of the Bradley concurred it was extremely unlikely to impossible for a Bradley driver to do the things Private Beauchamp described.

Faced with this deluge of untruths and half-truths from the main stream media, what’s a blogger to do?

So much BS, so little time.

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