Why Veterans Hate the Media, #3,298

newspaper-fishwrapDean Bacquet, the editor of the New York Times who was brought in from LA as part of a minor reshuffle when star Times reporter Jayson Blair was exposed as a fabulist (and his editors as complicit, if not also culpable, in his fabrications) a decade-plus ago, was recently asked why people don’t trust the media, in reference to the present political campaign.

Bacquet is evidently not an introspective or even self-aware man, so he was unable to meet a direct question with a direct answer. His basic point seems to have been that there’s something wrong with the public, that they’re not ready to accept the received wisdom of the reporter class: and he used as his illustration, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign in 2004.

The Swift Boat story is a perfect model, actually, of what the interviewer was asking him about;
Bacquet and his Timesmen, like his predecessor Blair, are so committed to The Narrative that they’re completely unaware that their Narrative is untrue, and the veterans’ group that he condemned (as something any right-thinking person would abjure, naturally!) had the right of it, and Bacquet’s Times (both of them, LA and New York) the wrong. Mark Hemingway in The Weekly Standard sets him straight, with this propitious overture…

Ok. Let me stop Baquet right there.

Hemingway goes on at some length to recount the truth. We were also there in 2004, in daily contact with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth leaders (later, Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth) and can vouch for Hemingway’s recollection. And he winds up, a bit:

And so we have the editor of the New York Times citing the Swift Vets as “just false” in the process of wondering why Americans don’t trust the media in the Age of Trump. The answer is that media organizations such as the Times eroded all their credibility trying to elect previous Democratic candidates by telling readers things were definitively false when readers damn well knew that there were substantive facts they were actively choosing to ignore. In fact, “Swift Vets” is now some sort of media pejorative, even though the term is an Orwellian attempt [to] recast and simplify events so as to obscure discomfiting and politically consequential debates that New York Times editors don’t want to have.

If Baquet wants to know why it’s difficult to cover Trump, he should consider the actual facts of the Swift Boat Vets and whether or not the media’s handling of such episodes have undermined their institutional credibility. If you have been sounding the alarm that the media are no longer credible, as some of us have been doing for a while now, then it was only a matter of time before a mountebank such as Trump came along and exploited this lack of trust. And it won’t be the last, unless the media clean up their act and start acting like a press that at least makes a good faith effort not to throw an election every four years.

There’s more to it, including depth on why the Vets were telling the truth and the Times lying, so do go Read The Whole Thing™.

Los Angeles Times Reporter James Rainey, who worked with Bacquet to try to counter the Swift Boat veteran truth with the Times Narrative™ of lies, is still working for the Times, in the fine tradition of journalism.

He is… we are not making this up… their media critic. Mote, beam, etc., some assembly required.

Why don’t people trust you any more? Forsooth, it is a mystery, Dean.

37 thoughts on “Why Veterans Hate the Media, #3,298

  1. ToastieTheCoastie

    I gotta say, the media is laying it on thick this year. They’ll attack any Republican candidate, but they’ve went full retard on Trump.

  2. MD

    I would add, the media didn’t just erode their credibility trying to elect democrats. They eroded their credibility by advancing obvious falsehoods under every administration, including Republicans. The first time this became obvious to me was during the build up to the second Gulf war, when the press simply paroted Bush II, Cheney, and Rove, without any critical analysis of the message. As history proved, the weapons of mass destruction were not, in fact, present in Iraq, and the entire justification of the war was built on lies and speculation.

    On a micro level, anyone who has even been involved in an incident that was described in the media understands how the actual facts are not accurately presented in the ensuing media stories.

    Add to that, the media has long ago stopped pretending they’re objective, neutral reporters. It’s clear to anyone paying attention that all media outlets are following one agenda or another.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I will say, as someone who saw the intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war (intermittently; I was in Afghanistan for the kickoff) that the intel on ongoing efforts on chem and bio weapons was compelling. In retrospect, it was probably a deception operation aimed at his own military and neighbors by Saddam, and perhaps as a deterrent against the USA. It worked too well.

      Certainly, for all the trouble characters like Hussein, Khadaffi, Mubarak and Assad have made for the West, we should have learned by now that what comes after the clown in the colonel suit is not necessarily better.

        1. SPEMack

          Not to mention, on the first night of the war they lobbed a couple of SCUD knockoffs (Al-Husseins?) into Kuwait, which to my understanding of the cease fire and UN arms control limitations, they were not permitted to have.

          1. Air

            How many convoys left Iraq while we were building up and arranging over flight permission? How many precursors were found in trenches?

          2. Hognose Post author

            That was some of the intel we had. Truck convoys going to known storage site, and then off to safety in a friendly nation.

            We did find bio labs that had been sanitized, but you really don’t need anything special to do pathogen/spore/toxin development and weaponization.

          3. LCPL Martinez 29 Palms

            @@@ Air,

            In and of itself, bio/chem and nuke/radiation, those weapons are on par amongst ME countries, hell in many cases we provided these weapons (to Iraq to play them against post-Shah Iran).

            Yes, they had to adhere to UN, 1st Gulf War rules, but the added concern was that Saddam was in cahoots with Al-Qaeda, for some Al-Qaeda camp up in the mountains near Iran.

            So the invasion didn’t simply rest on just simply having these arsenals, but that they were gonna share with Al-Qaeda… the justification was in two-parts. I think many people bought the 1st part, and simply considered the 2nd part (Saddam in collusion with bin Laden) a given, ie. if one is true, the second must be also (kinda wrong, but I’m no Pentagon expert).

            If some bio/chem, nuke/radiation, did get out prior to invasion where’d it all go? I don’t really know, but if your point was that it was snuck out before we came in, you’d have to ask that question, like Libyan weapons to Syria, via Qatar, etc.

            very different from small to medium arms,

            bio IMHO opinion (I’m no expert) would be hard since you gotta keep it alive, freeze and not burn it, etc. chem would be too unstable, nukes/radiation, unstable and easily tracked, no? Hognose, might know more about smuggling these stuff, but I’m sure it’d be different, not as easy.

          4. Hognose Post author

            The US provided no WMDs to Iraq. Everything they got, they got from the USSR or developed themselves. The only nations the US has ever shared WMD technology with have been FIVE EYES and select NATO powers (on a limited basis).

            Bio (I may not be an expert but I sure worked in the field) is the easiest of all WMDs to procure, develop, and deploy. And has the most minimal signature. Some bio is fragile, lots isn’t, and freezing (for example) is how they preserve samples in potent state.

            Radiation is easily tracked except at small levels. Without going into detail, there are provisions to react if a smart bomb or other radioactive threat starts moving anywhere that we’re interested in protecting.

          5. LCPL Martinez USMC

            *** “The US provided no WMDs to Iraq. Everything they got, they got from the USSR or developed themselves.” ***

            @@@ Hognose,

            Could it be that the powers that be, skirted around that rule, by piece-mealing our WMDs support, making it more indirect, instead of directly providing Saddam?

            I’m definitely deferring to your pesonal knowledge on this, but,

            FWIW, this was the Frontline documentary (we had to watch it, per our Sgt.) which formed my knowledge on the Iran-Iraq War and American participation/aid in that war,

            “Officially, most Western nations participated in a total arms embargo against Iraq during the 1980s, but as we shall see in this broadcast, Western companies, primarily in Germany and Great Britain, but also in the United States, sold Iraq the key technology for its chemical, missile, and nuclear programs.”

      1. LCPL Martinez 29 Palms

        *** “we should have learned by now that what comes after the clown in the colonel suit is not necessarily better.” ***

        That’s exactly why I’m not voting Clinton, Hognose—

        Egypt was lucky it had a lot of pro-US military officers; Assad the son was well loved even amongst moderate Sunnis, and he was widely popular, around Damascus, even Aleppo and the coast, although as you go further out the cities and coast, especially towards Iraq, fear was what kept Syrians in tow.

        But if Hillary’s point about the neo-Cons was that they were wrong with their nation building (first WMDs) aspirations, then why essentially follow suit? Syria was nice and stable, albeit with a drought they had to tackle, but that would’ve been the opening the Israeli’s needed to soften up Assad the son (who was very amenable to going the Jordan route, re water imports from Israel, via aqueducts, etc.)

        Hillary should be so easy to take down, but FOX News (and I’m no FOXtard!) just was not focused on exposing Benghazi more, instead they’ve become dependent on her emails, which is so totally silly—- at the end of the day, she was Sec. of State, it was her classified stuff to do (other agencies sanitize their own stuff before it gets to her, or to Dept. of State).

        But her decision to leave Benghazi hanging speaks to how Hillary does cost/benefit calculus , so why not interview the FAST Marines in Spain, or the CIF SF troops in Croatia, or ground personnel/pilots in Aviano, or the bulk fuel folks at Sicily, did they sit it out or were they ramping up to go to Benghazi, if (which is my suspicion) they were stood down, then follow that order up. You got Sec. of Defense (that Italian guy from Monterey, CA, forgot his name) simply saying, it’s too late and it was too dangerous… I’m pretty sure the US military doesnt operate from those two assumptions, LOL!

        But I blame FOX News and Republican reps in Congress for sticking too much on the emails, which was IMHO a fool’s errand. I like Bill O’Reilly and Megan Kelly and even Cavuto , but absolutely despise Hannity and that big guy that sits in the middle of the Five (oh, and I love Dana Perino). Those two have married up with Trump so closely , what are they to do as journalists post-Trump?

        I’m still voting for Trump, in CA it won’t much really make a dent, call it a protest vote, but have always wondered why Rand Paul didn’t take up the Libertarian banner, that title was pretty much synonymous with his father. I was considering voting for the Libertarian ticket, but would just feel wrong, so the concept of Sunk Cost Fallacy is all I have going into the voting booth in a month, :-( . Oh well….. in 8 years.

        *** “it was probably a deception operation aimed at his own military and neighbors by Saddam” ***

        Did they ever figure out if Agent Curveball and Chalabi were playing one and the same game, or were they just simply 2 storms, converging to be perfect?

        *** “the intel on ongoing efforts on chem and bio weapons was compelling.” ***

        I thought Powell’s speech to the UN was more on nukes and radiation WMDs?

        1. LCPL Martinez 29 Palms

          *** “Add to that, the media has long ago stopped pretending they’re objective, neutral reporters. It’s clear to anyone paying attention that all media outlets are following one agenda or another.” ***

          TV News is pure entertainment for me these days, although I watch BBC Int’l and some PBS docs, but I rely much on Financial Times, Economist and the Christian Science Monitor.

          Viceland’s Cyberwar series is also of note here.

          1. Air

            HGTV, Discovery, History Channel… I don’t do the national news anymore, even local news is getting stupid’r.

          2. USMC Martinez LCPL

            I do make a point of always trying to contact my local newspaper though, get them to do more local bios, local business spotlight, volunteer orgs spotlight, etc. while constantly urging them to do stories on fracking and pollution related stuff locally… local gov’t corruption too.

            Although I’m close to a big city, my town’s pretty small, so local newspaper’s still active and very responsive to local citizenry’ s requests. There’s also a local AM radio station. If local news outlets are still very responsive, by all means participate.

      2. Bonifacio Echeverria

        Well… it only took you four attempts to get it right that, specialy in foreign politics, if it isn’t broken, don’t touch it is a sensible policy. :-)

        Now it is accepted wisdom in the State Dept to think before removing the clown in Generalissimo clothes, isn’t it? right? right? right?

        1. Hognose Post author

          US official policy is to overthrow Assad, still. This policy likely has nearly 0% support outside the cluster of rich and disconnected counties that radiate from around DC. Russian policy is to back Assad, even after the President and Secretary of State of the US have tried everything, like throwing their rattles and holding their breath until they turn blue.

          1. LCPL Martinez USMC

            *** “US official policy is to overthrow Assad, still.” ***

            EXACTLY!!! and why I think Trump’s spot on, with his ‘ally with Russia, Iran & Assad to defeat ISIS’ strategy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsi_Gabbard , a Democrat from Hawaii, says the same thing.

            Common sensical.

            The simplest ME policy principle is to follow non-Sunni/Shias in the ME, be they Christian, Druze, Alawi (no they don’t consider themselves Shia). Why our agencies can’t understand that, I have no idea.

      3. RSR

        Generally, my understanding is that the consensus is the following regarding the bulk of Iraq WMDs in question (some were located by US troops in country):
        – Saddam said he had more than he did out of bravado/deterrance, but when he had to account for them w/ weapons inspectors he couldn’t
        – The Iraqis lost or otherwise misplaced WMDs in the desert during their war with Iran, shifting lines of battle, and fog of war
        – The Iraqi WMDs were smuggled/transferred to Syrian control

        It wasn’t just a supposed link to al Qaeda. Specifically, the congressional resolution stated “a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction, that harbored and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world.”
        For more than a decade the US had been patrolling no fly zones, getting planes lit up Iraqi AA radar, a few occasions actually having AA missiles fired at US jets, etc. All of the Iraq aggression stuff was minimized by the media during the Clinton years, but for the military it was very much an enduring issue that came to a head when viewed in light of the 9/11 attacks…

        1. LCPL Martinez USMC

          *** “It wasn’t just a supposed link to al Qaeda.” ***

          @@@ RSR ,

          I can totally appreciate that line of thought, if that were true, why haven’t we invaded and nation built the f’ck out of N. Korea? Or Pakistan for that matter, they sold our crashed secret stealth helicopter from Zero Dark Thirty to China forcrisakes!

          So the most important component IMHO for the justification of invading Iraq was, was, the link to Al-Qaeda. W/out it, there’s simply no argument you see.

        2. Hognose Post author

          The terrorists weren’t just Al-Q (and weren’t much Al-Q) but for one famous example, Abu Nidal had sanctuary in Saddam’s Iraq.

        3. Boat Guy

          That’d be the thinking/informed consensus as opposed to the unwashed masses “BUSH LIED KIDS DIED” consensus, yeah.

          1. USMC Martinez LCPL

            *** “The terrorists weren’t just Al-Q (and weren’t much Al-Q) but for one famous example, Abu Nidal had sanctuary in Saddam’s Iraq.” ***

            @@@ Hognose,

            I guess my argument here is more on proportionality than the notion that Saddam was innocent outright.

            Abu Nidal’s crew, compared to Imad Mughniyeh’s pale’s in comparison, yet there was strategic patience applied in the latter case, small & quiet.

            So whether or not the imminence of the threat was manufactured , that I can go either way, but the capstone to the justification was the Al-Qaeda connection.

            My mind’s definitely made up to the question of whether the juice was worth the squeeze (it obviously wasn’t, but such is hindsight always 20/20). Whether it was an orange or lemon to be squeezed, I ‘m open to either thought,

            but re PROPORTIONALITY, I lean towards capturing individuals ala Ramzi Yusef (1st Twin Towers boming) and Kansi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_shootings_at_CIA_Headquarters , ie. slow and steady, small & quiet, instead of invasion/nation building.

          2. Hognose Post author

            Capturing individuals does require you to treat with foreign governments, and exacerbates our intelligence agencies’ tendencies, especially to headquarters bloat and field starvation, combined with requiring your field skeleton crew to work through foreign liaisons. In some places, unilateral operations are taboo, to keep the liaison situation all smiley. In other places, unilaterals are authorized but impossible because everybody is out to the host nation. Yet only unilateral operations can produce truly controlled American sources.

            I’m willing to listen to arguments we shouldn’t invade places. But we have to be free to spy on places. They, of course, spy on us.

          3. USMC Martinez LCPL

            *** “But we have to be free to spy on places. They, of course, spy on us.” ***

            Totally agree! I believe Yousef and Kansi were tracked down via the DSS rewards program, ala the Wild West rewards posters.

            At the end of the day, it still boils down (sadly) to Walk-ins, LOL!

  3. Impudent Warwick

    We rubes in flyover country continue to disappoint our betters in the political-media class. We really need to be governed as they determine for our own good.

  4. Tom Stone

    It’s not just veterans.
    Five corporations control more than 95% of the MSM and as a result the MSM is less trustworthy than the average congresscritter who is probably slow enough to tell the truth accidentally from time to time.
    The only thing I trust in the newspapers are the box scores.

    1. RSR

      Professional sports are a monopolized racket, and professional gambling/organized crime (also a racket) is also well established in affecting the outcome of games…

  5. Jim Scrummy

    Only veterans? My raging hate (yes hate) towards all MSM is 1000x the BTU of the Sun. They are ALL LIARS. Not one is your friend. Treat them as the enemy, because they are.

    1. LCPL Martinez 29 Palms

      Personally, I consider FOX News part of MSM, maybe 10-15 yrs ago it wasn’t, but now it most definitely is.

  6. Cap'n Mike

    Every time I turned on the TV this weekend, some talking head was screaming about how Trump had grabbed some ladies cat.
    I just don’t pay attention to them anymore.

      1. loren

        And the wonderful Ivanka wore that pussy scarf (whatever that is) to the debate.
        Gotta love that.

  7. Aesop

    It would probably help if the bar to be declared psychologically incompetent to stand trial wasn’t higher than the bar to enter or graduate J-school summa cum laude.
    As long as they run a GIGO operation to foist functional retards into the media. they’ll be distrusted by most villages, who can recognize another village’s idiot when they read one. This stopped being anecdotal after the 500th case, and is now predictive behavior.

  8. Nadnerbus

    The media has to exist in a market with blogs such as yours, twitter info flying about for all to see, as well as YouTube channels run by independent minds and unedited primary source video. They are no longer gatekeepers of information and the narrative (tm?), and they have not learned to adjust to that.

    I don’t mind their blindness to all this. It just means they won’t learn from their mistakes and become more effective in their propaganda spin.

    Remember how McCain was the “good” Republican, because he was bipartisan and worked with Democrats (that is, voted in favor of their goals), right up until he ran for president, and was morphed into a warmonger and the demon spawn of Hitler? Or how Mitt Romney was a Republican so moderate he got elected gov. in Massachusetts, yet was morphed into an evil vulture capitalist who was going to throw the poor and the elderly into the streets, take away birth control from women, and hated dogs? The media have over-over-played their hand so badly and for so long, that their tricks don’t work anymore, even on someone as morally questionable as Trump.

    So yeah, it’s definitely not just vets. It’s anyone paying even a little attention.

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