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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Friends And Allies Of Rome: The MSM's Waterloo

We are well aware of Waterloo, correct? Aside from the cool Abba song, this was the worst defeat of Napoleon, handed to him by Wellington, upon his return from exile. Wellington's troops wasted little time in dealing the death blow to the little dictator when he decided to resurface. The MSM has acted like little dictators for quite some time. Arrogance has crept into their collective consciousness, and they no longer believe that they need an ombudsman, or an editor, to mess with their stories, no matter how bad the story is. Mary Mapes and Dan Rather are out of jobs because of this arrogance. (Yes, Mr. Rather is still employed by CBS, but he is no longer the "purveyor of truth" he believed himself to be.)

This isn't unusual. People so dead set in their ways are often unwilling to accept questions--even those involved in ethics concerns--from anyone; worse, this includes others in their own industry. The past two years they have also had to contend with competition. Talk radio has always provided not only news, but also insightful, usually intelligent, commentary. Now, of course I exclude the Mama Moonbat Media over at Air-head America. Primarily, these people I ignore for the sheer fact that Al Franken is the king of that station, which means somewhere deep inside, the people that support them give this man credence. Scary, isn't it.

But the media has more problems than just making mistakes. Their hatchet job attacks on anyone that stands contrary to their ideological bias have been noticed. The consistent attacks against the president and his administration has been worse than anything I have ever seen. Thomas is oft reminding me that he grew up while Reagan was president, yet he agrees. The MSM now is far more visceral, vicious, and partisan than ever before, and it is as plain as the nose on our faces. It is one thing to print a critical editorial questioning the government. However, directly running a story that is not only not entirely factually-based, but one that uses comments by "experts" to take liberty with the president's honor and reputation.

But we have watched this descent. We saw it begin with Rathergate, when Dan Rather was caught peddling phony memos regarding the president's National Guard Service. We saw it when the MSM blatantly refused to address any of the challenges or questions presented about John Kerry in the 2004 elections. We stood with our jaws agape as Eason Jordan slandered our troops in Iraq, then refused to back up his claims with evidence. We read the puff-piece put together by Barbara Demick making North Korea out to be a garden paradise rather than the cruel gulag that it really is. Giuliani Sgrena was also allowed to slander our troops, accusing them of targeting her and her "escort" as they tried to run a checkpoint in Baghdad. (Yes, she was Italian, however the MSM did a bang up job covering for her, and lending her support while likewise calling for the troops' head on a platter.)

The good news is that Dan Rather is out of a job, almost. John Kerry lost. Eason Jordan lost his job after about two weeks of dodging the "put up or shut up" arguments. Barbara Demick wrote a clarification, and an apology for her piece. And Ms. Sgrena was crucified by the military's report of the incident, which found the troops involved not responsible. They followed their orders. But if it were not for talk radio, these issues would not have gained the attention of America. The other help to talk radio, which has virtually overrun it's grandparent, and is beating the media "like a bongo drum" are bloggers. Yes, we are not beating our own drum on this. We are small fish. No, we are bringing this up because of a few things that have happened recently. And what is sad is that bloggers cannot take complete credit for the media's Waterloo. No, they have shot themselves in the foot plenty of times. We are the ones who stand over the body, and point out the evidence that kicks them while they are down. I actually enjoy that.

What my beautiful partner is trying to convey (in ways that entice me, and make me worry) is that we bloggers brust onto the scene. At first, our major prominence was announced with challenging one of America's "most trusted" newsmen. Dan Rather put up a story, and it was debunked in a matter of hours, and 24 hours later, Dan Rather was in the middle of a firestorm that he couldn't see a way out of it. Since then, we've mounted other heads on our wall as we catch the media when they try to slide some garbage past us. To their chagrin, we are their ombudsmen. The difference is we're not telling them thay can't print their story, but we are standing there and ripping it apart. We don't enjoy this (well, some of us nuts do), but if the MSM would just do their job, they wouldn't have these problems, and bloggers would be virtually out of a job, or they'd find a new outlet for their blogging.

The following piece from the WaPo is a hit piece. The link is below, but I am only going to cite a portion of it.

"I was disenchanted with the reporting on the war in Iraq and the greater war on terror and felt there was much to the conflict that was missed," Roggio, who is currently stationed with Marines along the Syrian border, wrote in an e-mail response to written questions. "What is often seen as an attempt at balanced reporting results in underreporting of the military's success and strategy and an overemphasis on the strategically minor success of the jihadists or insurgents."

Roggio's arrival in Iraq comes amid what military commanders and analysts say is an increasingly aggressive battle for control over information about the conflict. Scrutiny of what the Pentagon calls information operations heightened late last month, when news reports revealed that the U.S. military was paying Iraqi journalists and news organizations to publish favorable stories written by soldiers, sometimes without disclosing the military's role in producing them.

"I am convinced that information operations from both sides are increasing and intensifying. I think both sides are beginning to understand that this struggle will be waged in both the kinetic and informational realms, but that the latter is the decisive area of operations," wrote Daniel Kuehl, a professor at the National Defense University in Washington who specializes in information operations. "The insurgents target several audiences, including the Islamic world and the American populace."

Mr. Roggio is a superb blogger, and a man who knows exactly what he is doing. Like Michael Yon, he is among a few bloggers getting the truth out of Iraq, and it is anything but the "dismal quagmire" the MSM is portraying it as. Is their violence over there? Of course. Are there still problems? Definitely. However, whereas a blogger will report the bad news, they will also promote the good. Think about all the stories that we have linked to regarding the good stories coming out of Iraq. Like many other bloggers who find these stories, we simply relay them. A sort of newspaper minus the ink-and-nicotine stained fingers.

Bill Roggio saw this, and like bloggers do, beat on the WaPo like a bongo drum.


There are three problems with this article which require a response: the use of incorrect facts which could have been easily checked; the portrayal of my embed as an information operation; and equating U.S. military information operations with al-Qaeda propaganda efforts.

I am not a “retired soldier”, as that would have required me to serve in the military for twenty plus years. I spent four years on active duty and two years in the National Guard. The article also indicates that I am currently in Iraq and embedded with the Marines in Western Anbar. I am not. I returned home on December 20th.

I was not credentialed by the American Enterprise Institute. This would be impossible as the needed press credentials must be provided by a media organization. A friend suggested I approach the American Enterprise Magazine, which is a periodical published by the American Enterprise Institute. We were unable to work out an agreement, so I searched for an alternative.

In an email to Mr. Finer expressing my displeasure with being labeled a military information operation, Mr. Finer suggested I read the entire article. I assured him I did. The title and subtitle are not meaningless to the context of the article; it is implied I was a tool of the military, when in fact the military had no influence whatsoever in what I said from Iraq.

The details of my embed are then followed with a discussion on military information operations, the Lincoln Group’s activities in paying for positive articles to be published in Iraqi publications, and the military funding Iraqi radio stations. The implication is clear: a blogger embedding in Iraq must be part of a nefarious scheme by the military to influence the perceptions on Iraq.

The truth is far more mundane. I wasn’t paid a dime to report from Iraq by the Marines, nor was I influenced in any way in what I could or could not write about. I had full control over the where and when of my embeds. Never once was my work subject to the approval or review of the military. I wrote what I experienced, both the good and the bad.
The invitation to come to Iraq was an invitation only. The invitation to embed alone did not allow me entry. As mentioned above, proper media credentials were required. This invitation merely was motivation for me to take my coverage of Iraq to the next level; instead of reporting from afar, I could provide some first hand accounts from Iraq and assess the situation on the ground on my own.

Equating military information operations with al-Qaeda propaganda efforts is a form of moral equivalence of the worst sort. The U.S. military is conducting an influence campaign to draw attention to the news which is missed by the media on a daily basis. Their belief (and one that I share) is the portrayal of events in Iraq do not reflect the actual situation on the ground. While the articles may be viewed as “favorable” to the Coalition, the question is, are they accurate and factual? The Washington Post does not address this issue, nor does it provide evidence that the military is running a disinformation campaign.

Richard Fernandez describes the difference between reporting and propogandizing as such: “The clear mark of a propagandist is one who consistently misrepresents events, allowing for occasional errors which every human being must make. Track record matters.”

al-Qaeda is running a shear disinformation campaign which uses human beings as props in events such as beheadings and execution styled killings. It manufactures events, such as the faux uprising in Ramadi in the beginning of December. The truth is not relevant to al-Qaeda’s propaganda operations, only results matter.

Critics of my writings on Iraq have every right to criticize, but in fairness they should judge the accuracy of my analysis and reporting. Those who question what I witnessed in Iraq can, with some effort, contact the soldiers and Marines I talked to and wrote about to confirm the events took place as I describe. The test of time will show if my reporting from Iraq was truthful reporting or propaganda.

What Mr. Roggio did, and what we have done on a regular basis, is after the gauntlet has been thrown down by the MSM, we picked it up and slapped them across the face with it. We have answered them. We have debunked them. We have pointed to the vitriolic assaults launched from their newsrooms, and have also pointed out the leaks emanating through the press. And believe me, we have had our fair share of leaks in this year alone. We have read of: the CIA rendition missions, the "secret" CIA "torture" prisons (which do not use torture because we do not torture), the NSA surveillance program, and the radiation monitoring program. Needless to say these are not the best things to have out in the open. These are tools in our war on terror; an equvalent to this would be the public being privy to the steps being taken for D-Day. Eveyone knows that every person within a secret is a detriment, and once it opos, there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle.

And we have had our fair share of e-mails regarding the legalities involved. This particular subject is the one thing that the media doesn't get, either. On the question of all the listed above, leaked programs, yes a crime was committed but it wasn't done by the administration. It was committed by the person who ran to a member of the MSM, and spilled their guts. And to a point, and I'm apt to agree with John Eastman and Hugh Hewitt: The MSM isn't protected from prosecution for running any of these stories. The Pentagon Papers "clause" the papers seemed to have created out of whole cloth, much like the Supreme Court in many of it's decisions creating "law," doesn't protect them from being prosecuted. It simply says "Yeah, you can run it; it is your right." However, with some things, such as this situation, the MSM should have thought twice about this one. They revealed a classified program, and if I were in the administration, I'd be calling for an investigation by the Justice Department.

Worse yet, the media seems emboldened. The number of heads sitting on the blogger's wall does not seem to given them pause. Despite how badly they have been beaten and tossed by the alternative media--the bloggers as the vanguard--the MSM has decided to delude themselves. They have not paid attention to their mistakes, or they do not care. They ignore their dropping numbers in subscribers and in advertisers. Both the New York Times and the LA Times are preparing closures of plants, and lay-offs of workers. No one wants the cage-liners, not do they want to be associated with them. This is due completely how these outlets handle the news. Badly is one thing; hatred and spite mixed with innuendos, guesses, and outright lies is another thing altogether. They seemingly thought they were immune. Not anymore. Their Waterloo is upon them.

And like Wellington, we're going to crush the MSM. We will do it by doing their job better, attracting readers to our sites, and presenting BOTH sides, as so many of us have. You can read both sides. This is something they think they do, but they don't. WE do. And this is why we're winning this fight. This nation is gripped in the middle of a culture war. Some see the glass as half-empty. Lately, we've been looking at it as half-full because we know, in the long run, we're winning, and the MSM and the Left are going to keep losing. The more they lose, the more they'll end up going nuts. But this is twilight for the MSM. It's dead. It's deader than dead; it's cage liner weeks old in a dingy home that just stinks to high heaven. Eventually, that home will be condemned, and along with it, the cage liner can go, too.

The Bunny ;)
Publius II


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