Why don't military good guys make the front page?
June 11, 2006
DURING THE last two weeks, the Los Angeles Times has printed at least four front-page articles, and several others on inside pages, about a Marine squad accused of killing 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha and possibly falsifying reports about the incident. Some of the information reported by The Times was based on the military's own investigation. The Times' reports seemed fair, stressing the conditions of combat and confusion faced by our troops.
As the father of a Marine who served two combat tours in Afghanistan and participated in missions in Iraq, I'm glad the newspaper reports military failures. I want the military to be better too. I'm also grateful for the many poignant stories about our troops that Times' reporters such as Tony Perry and David Zucchino have written for the paper.
However, if the "chattering classes" ever wonder why those of us in the military family sometimes bitterly resent the media, they need look no further than the "Haditha story." What bothers me is that I haven't seen one recent story dedicated to the heroism of our troops given such consistent prominence in The Times or other leading papers. Nor have I read a front-page headline about a military medal ceremony and the story behind it, although every year I see front-page treatment in The Times of who wins the Oscars.
Apparently some awards are more equal than others -- say, for being a supporting actress in a forgettable movie rather than risking one's life to save a group of Iraqi children.
Frank Schaeffer is the author of the forthcoming novel "Baby Jack" and coauthor with Kathy Roth-Douquet of "AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from the Military and How it Hurts Our Country."
Read the entire article on the Los Angeles Times website (new window will open).