November 23, 2004


Many people have pointed to Kevin Sites' explanation to the Marines (he's the one who taped the Marine shooting the wounded terrorist). I don't doubt that Sites felt a sinking feeling in his stomach as he witness the scene. I also tend to believe him that he wasn't out looking for Woodward/Bernstein-type fame. But here's what I don't like.

In war, as in life, there are plenty of opportunities to see the full spectrum of good and evil that people are capable of. As journalists, it is our job is to report both -- though neither may be fully representative of those people on whom we're reporting. For example, acts of selfless heroism are likely to be as unique to a group as the darker deeds. But our coverage of these unique events, combined with the larger perspective - will allow the truth of that situation, in all of its complexities, to begin to emerge.

When we look back on Operation Iraqi Freedom, what are we going to remember? What are the memories that the Mainstream Media has drilled into our heads? Abu Ghraib. This Marine shooting a wounded terrorist. Jessica Lynch. The lack of WMDs.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. I don't watch news on the TV, so maybe the airwaves are bombarded with hero stories I just haven't heard yet. But I sincerely reject the idea that the Media is balancing "the full spectrum of good and evil that people are capable of" in the daily news. They instead take something like Abu Ghraib and give it flashy banners and expert guests, run the story on a loop every 15 minutes, and drill the "atrocity" into our heads. Did they present the full atrocity of Nick Berg's beheading? Of the children's jails and rape rooms and mass graves uncovered after the war? Did they make a nice flashy banner for the torture chambers and half-dead prisoners that were just found in Fallujah this week?

Where's the flashy banner for CPL Yeager? Where's Pat Tillman's story on a loop over and over? A few clips at the end of your segment pointing out some Hometown Heroes does not a balanced scale make. The Media defends itself by saying, "we have to show the good and the bad." Please, show me when you've given half the airtime to good as you have to bad.

Over the past two years, I have developed a sense of utter revulsion for reporters and journalists. I don't want to feel like that, but they've made their own bed. I don't blame Kevin Sites for shooting the footage, but I blame the Media Monster for the way it's presented and distributed.

John Kerry killed a wounded enemy in Vietnam and got the Silver Star. This Marine killed a wounded enemy in Iraq and will face the death penalty. It's all in how you package and sell it.

Posted by: Sarah at 03:22 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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1 I can't seem to find the words to describe how this incident makes me feel. To put it mildly, Kevin Sites surely weighed the consequences of his actions before he went forward with his footage. The lambasting our troops receive because of this I fear will cause them to hesitate next time, this will get them killed. The next soldier killed by an enemy faking their death is squarely on the head of Kevin Sites. I'd better stop now.

Posted by: John at November 23, 2004 05:45 AM (crTpS)

2 I wish you weren't correct, Sarah, but I'm afraid you are. There is such a huge story to tell about OIF, and the stories are all over the internet and the blogosphere... but not in the MSM. I do watch the news (mostly CNN) and I want to scream at my TV most of the time. I'd love to sit down with Aaron Brown for an hour and make him read all the things I've seen, and ask him why these aren't stories that deserve to be told. I know a lot of us are worked up about the incident with the Marine, but I still put my faith in Navy JAG, because, well, I have faith in the Navy. If, and I say IF, it actually goes to a Court Martial, I don't see the members convicting him. I really don't think it will get that far, though blithering media idiots will continue to make a big deal out of it. In the end, I think a free Iraq will tell the story. Somehow, the media will write the story when they have to- even if it's grudgingly. As for the heroic efforts and sacrifices of the military and others- those that matter know. Sometimes, that's the best you can ask for.

Posted by: Jack Grey at November 23, 2004 06:17 AM (Jq8H8)

3 Like you, I don't watch TV news. I will, on occasion, catch Brit Hume. Other than that, I get my news from the broadest possible sources--radio and internet. The folks running MSM are the same ones who tried, and almost succeeded, in destroying our military thirty years ago. They say otherwise, but that is still their ultimate goal. Their vision is a US without any military--only then can there be peace throughout the world. Right.

Posted by: Mike at November 23, 2004 07:43 AM (MqNKC)

4 Sarah - you're right. I don't bother looking at the news anymore. Even my Mom has figured it out now - and she's 65. Took her long enough to realize she was only getting a piece (and a bad one) of the story. I depend on the blogs to get me the true stories. Like The Greenside, Blackfive, etc. Don't worry. Those of us who aren't being forcefed the news know the truth and the heroism of OIF and the soldiers. We will not forget. And I'm grateful for their service to my freedom.

Posted by: Kathleen A at November 23, 2004 08:36 AM (vnAYT)

5 Sarah - I had written from the time I read about this incident that Kevin Sites was an opportunist. I don't believe he overtly wished ill to the affected Marine but it's a matter of self importance and self aggrandizement. I've read every side of this issue on the net. I never watch any of the Alphabet news programs and watch Fox News maybe a couple hours on the weekend. So, my news comes from articles posted on Lucianne, some daily email alerts and blogs. Kevin Sites was willing to sacrifice this Marine for his own opportunism. End of story. What I have not had confirmed for me as yet is if Kevin is still embedded or not? Anyone know?

Posted by: Toni at November 23, 2004 09:08 AM (SHqVu)

6 Kevin Sites "Can't handle the truth"; not, as the movie went, able to bear it and its implications, but he cannot truthfully handle it to give it out. Two points: First, he says the insurgent was "partially covered by a blanket". Well and good; what part, though, of the man was covered? Would that not go to the question of the Marine's state of mind? Sites did not handle the truth here; he did not give the whole truth. Secondly, he didn't handle the truth in a way that would, while allowing for due process in which the Corps would get to the whole truth, continue to protect the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen stationed there: He could have (indeed, SHOULD have) not submitted the tape for broadcast/pool use. He is a veteran journalist; he is a professional, unlike all us amateur rubes ("for those who don't practice journalism...")--he MUST have known what would happen once al Jazeera would get their copy! How could he NOT know!? We are right back to the "Ethics in America" dilemma: The story is more important than the Soldiers' safety; or, Sites is a journalist before he is an American. Thank you, Sarah, for providing the link to the "Ethics" video; very enlightening. Keep the faith, and I continue to remember you and your husband in my prayers. Jim

Posted by: Jim Shawley at November 23, 2004 01:31 PM (CnYsu)

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