Thursday, October 07, 2004


Who is losing the media in Iraq? If you believe this scathing explanation from the Naval Institute Proceedings, it is the military brass themselves because they are making no effort to get along with or even deal with the media.

But who is responsible for this state of affairs? While it is easy to blame the media for failing to get the true story or to accuse journalists of a liberal bias against military operations, this fails to identify the true culprit. The reason the military is losing the war in the media is because it has almost totally failed to engage, and where it has engaged, it has been with a mind-boggling degree of ineptitude. It is a strange circumstance indeed when virtually every senior officer agrees that the media can make or break national policy, but no more than a handful can name the top military journalist for The Washington Post, The New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal. Thousands of officers who spend countless hours learning every facet of their profession do not spend one iota of their time understanding or learning to engage with a strategic force that can make or break their best efforts.

This might seem harsh but the writer who was embedded with the 101st Airborne in Iraq has a point. He has been on the wrong side of Public Affairs Officers too many times and he's tired of it. I find his rant unfortunate because one of the best PR people I know is a former Air Force Public Affairs Officer. He's a pro in every way and someone I look up to. Maybe he is an exception.


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