October 13, 2005

Michael Yon's Inside Info
I found the link where Yon informs us of how the media really operates in Iraq, and what their "1.5 million" is actually going to.

Bill Keller of the Times

"JOURNALISM OF VERIFICATION." "Most of what you know, you know because of the mainstream media," Keller said. "Bloggers recycle and chew on the news. That's not bad. But it's not enough."

Keller pointed out that it cost the Times around $1.5 million to maintain a Baghdad bureau in 2004. (It cost one Times freelancer much more last month: He was murdered.) "This kind of civic labor can't be replaced by bloggers." The Times' assets: "A worldwide network of trained, skilled [observers] to witness events" and write about them, and "a rigorous set of standards. A journalism of verification," rather than of "assertion," and maintaining an "agnosticism" as to where any story may lead. And, borrowing a key buzzword of the day, he said the Times practiced "transparency," or, in math-teacher terms, "we show our work."
I would beg to differ, most of what we know is from government sources, expert officials, or just spokesmen and press releases.

Whenever the media reports about something from Iraq, they knew about it only from government sources and press releases. The media didn't find out about Abu Ghraib, they got the pictures from the parents seeking to divert attention from their undisciplined offspring, and they got the official details from the Military Investigation already being conducted.

It would have been hard to prove those pictures were true and not hoaxes, had there not been an investigation, and there would have been no reason for the parents of the indicted National Guardsmen to release it to the media and get their children in trouble.

A coverup would have been easy, since the media only knows what it knows from government and military sources after all.

The media only serves as a filter, to be a convenience application like a microwave or gas stove. Something to ready our meals for our digestion. The media is not a gourmet chef that prepares our meals for us, to the delectation of our desires and tastes. Rather, it is more like the dietician that tells us what to eat, when to eat it, and how much enjoyment we will derive from it.

Such as it is, the media is a filter, and a very clogged up one at that. The gatekeepers need keepers themselves. Keller does not recognize this fact, for a news organization, one wonders if Keller cannot recognize this fact, what other facts has he been getting wrong?

As for Keller's much grand quote of 1.5 milion, I refer you to this link

The information provided by Michael Yon, touring Iraq in his beat up boots and his sand encrusted Nikon digital camera, is a small fraction of 1.5 million. But the information is a billion times better. How can this be? Unless, that 1.5 million is the same 1.5 billion the UN spends on social parties, food for sex, and other various decadent actions.

But of course, Keller, would not recognize that.

The "proximity delay" seems to be bi-directional. The higher-ups also seem to have a disconnect with what the media eventually does with Coalition successes. I kept silent for days on the Zarqawi-letter dispatch, ready to post what was probably the single most important piece of insider information to drop into our hands in quite some time. I requested clearance several times per day, each time being asked to hold back. I complied.

But then, without even giving the leaders at Deuce Four a heads-up, a typically enthralling military press release went out to major, mainstream, media outlets. We all learned of it on CNN. The Zarqawi-letter story was almost unrecognizable. Because, in the hands of a network that hasn't had a body in the field in Mosul long enough to get their bearings, the best the media could do is paraphrase the military press release. So what should have been a front page banner headline story ended up buried on page 6.

Even CNN couldn't grasp the importance of the letter. They ended up giving more coverage to the impending E-Bay auction of Jennifer Aniston's old love letters than to the missive in which the top Al-Qaeda leader in Mosul writes to the second most wanted man in the world, and describes in amazing detail the weaknesses and impending collapse of the terrorist network in Mosul and surrounds. Only then did the military ask if I wanted to write about the letter.
The Z-Man letter is just another example, where the media's claims that they are the "gatekeepers" and the "blood hounds" of facts is totally preposterous on the ground.


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25 October, 2005 02:32  

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