Friday, January 07, 2005

Major Mike's Blog

Today I discovered, thanks to Hugh Hewitt, a new blog by Major Mike. He currently has two posts, and I enjoyed them very much. He writes well and has some excellent points. I guess I'm just partial to these USMC guys (witness my husband).

In his post titled "Gut Check America" Major Mike discusses the need for steadfast courage, will, and perseverance, both individual and national, as we fight an asymmetiric war in Iraq and the Global War on Terror.

This brought to mind an excellent article (actually, the text of a speech) by Melanie Phillips, titled The reporting of Iraq and Israel: an abuse of media power, Talk at Limmud conference, 27 December 2004 . While somewhat long, it is a cogent, interesting, well-reasoned view of the specific ways media reporting has worked to undermine the individual and national will to fight. While Ms. Phillips specifically refers to the media in Britain, many believe her arguments and conclusions apply to the media in the United States, as well. While somewhat long, it is a very interesting, cogent, well-reasoned presentation. Here is an excerpt from the introductory portion, in which she presents her thesis:

"Britain is gripped by an unprecedented degree of irrationality, prejudice and hysteria over the issues of Iraq, the terrorist jihad and Israel. All three are intimately linked; all three, however, are thought by public opinion to be linked in precisely the wrong way. This is because all three have been systematically misreported, distorted and misrepresented through a lethal combination of profound ignorance, political malice and ancient prejudices.

This systematic abuse by the media is having a devastating impact in weakening the ability of the west to defend itself against the unprecedented mortal threat that it faces from the Islamic jihad. People cannot and will not fight if they don’t understand the nature or gravity of the threat that they face, so much so that they vilify their own leaders while sanitising those who would harm them.

Yet that is what is happening. Public debate in Britain is now marked by a collapse of objectivity, truth, fairness and balance. Logic and morality have been stood on their heads. Victims are portrayed as oppressors, while mass murderers have to be understood and sympathised with. The outcome is an ugly and dangerous climate in which prejudice and lies have achieved the status of unchallengeable fact; a climate which is now being eagerly manipulated by terrorists who know that if they ratchet up their barbarism and distribute the video the result will merely be an ever greater public clamour for Tony Blair to split away from President Bush and shatter the coalition in defence of the free world.

The public has been grossly misled by the British media, and falsehoods have become accepted as fact, so much so that any statement of actual facts which undermine this mindset are excised from the debate altogether.

In this talk, I will first of all look at the twisting of the reporting, then suggest why this has happened and then finally discuss the effect it is having."

Ms. Phillips then presents and analyzes the specific ways the BBC and other media have distorted, rewritten, or failed to report much of recent history through their reporting. She gives many examples, contrasting actual events, speeches, and reports with the way these are reported by the media. She covers much territory as she examines the media's shaping of public perceptions about Israel, Iraq, and Islamic terrorists, and the reasons, methods, and dangers of media distortion. This speech is well-reasoned and interesting to read. I hope you will read all of it. In pdf format, it is 17 pages, but reads quickly. Here is the final paragraph of her speech:

"It is this weakness and moral confusion that comprise the great goal of terrorist strategy; it is this that has characterised the west’s response to Islamic terror for many decades; it is this that has brought us to where we are today. In the war that has been declared upon the free world, the western media’s abuse of power is perhaps the most lethal weapon of all."