HUMINT: Permanent Press

REPORTERS PRODUCE STORIES: The international press is a permanent force in modern warfare. Journalists and their crews crawl over the battle space looking for the latest “story”. Lest we forget, stories are a commodity. Each story’s singular purpose is to attract and keep the attention of an audience sufficiently long enough for the audience to watch commercial content. Never forget, advertisements are priority one. No citizen should assume the responsibility of the press is to inform the public. It isn’t. Only on rare occasions does the press inform American citizens. As a citizen, you are solely responsible for your own perceptions of any war. If your countrymen don’t understand war, shifting blame to the press for their ignorance is a deadly sin. Blame is sloth of the worst kind

GET USED TO IT: The press will permanently produce stories that distort an audience’s perception of events occurring in the battle space. Even if an accurate snapshot of events could be created with superior journalistic integrity, it would take an experienced audience to interpret it. No school of journalism adequately prepares a journalist to enter a Zen like trance of universal understanding. Only the arrogance of battle hardened journalists makes an audience believe they have their finger on the war’s pulse. Carrying with them a confidence only repeated exposure to life threatening situations can conjure; they can make their stories convincing, but not necessarily accurate or relevant.

DEMAND RELEVANT STORIES: When a journalist writes a scathing piece critical of a democratically elected official, they’re hitting an easy target while shaking the pillars of support for their own journalistic freedoms. When a journalist humanizes the enemies of the citizens that read their work, they’re protecting themselves and preparing for their next interview. Of course, these kinds of stories compel an audience’s attention. However, these stories are irrelevant to victory.

ASK: HOW DO WE WIN? In the pursuit of future victory, the Bush administration’s past mistakes are as irrelevant as Britney Spears’ emotional break down, Anna Nicole Smith’s celebrity death and Paris Hilton’s jail term. Demand stories that can help us all win at war. If you [as a consumer] can’t handle the bland metrics of success on the battlefield, there’s much more flavor on either side of your war plate. As a consumer of press products, you should demand to know why the despotic regime of Iran has a failing economy. Demand to know why Venezuela’s Chavez cannot endure dissent – and feels in necessary to pull the plug on the only privately operated television network in. Demand to know why Syria’s Assad supports terrorism in Lebanon through Hezbollah and beyond. These are stories that matter to our mutual success at war and in peace that will inevitably follow

MISSING HISTORICAL CONTEXT: When the press fails to deliver on your legitimate demands, [and they will] you’ll be forced to go out and find your own historical context. In the history of our world at war, you’ll learn how permanent the behavior of the press has been, is now and will remain. Mankind, since the inception of language, has loudly articulated frightening stories of battle field conflict. In wars, it seems the sky always falls. The most hysterical journalistic versions of war are oft proved inaccurate. Interestingly, the physical location of a journalist makes little difference. They can be in the zone or a million miles away form it. The fact is it’s a journalist’s mental position on war that guides their narrative of battle field events. As a result of natural human bias historical context is abandoned. Why? Historical context reduces the perceived drama of events on the ground. Without drama, a journalist cannot compel an audience to stay tuned for commercials

CONCLUSION: Be selective with the information the permanent press provides. It isn’t there to inform you. Rather, their stories are only there to grab and keep your attention. Use their stories to build a mosaic of the battle space. Accept the inaccuracies of the press as an invitation for your own investigation. These days, citizens have more tools than ever before to enlighten themselves. If you demand relevant stories, will your protests make much of a difference? I think they will… Journalists need freedom more than most occupations. It’s in their interest to help their democracies win wars against fascists, terrorists and other despots.

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