Military media

(from some wire service, via IMDB’s Studio Briefing): The growing political polarization of the American public was highlighted in a new survey that found that 67 percent of Republicans believe the print and TV press is excessively critical of the administration and that 54 percent of Democrats believe the press is too soft on it. The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press also found that 47 percent of Americans believe that the news media are “weakening the nation’s defenses” by their critical reports about the military. Clashing with the results of TV ratings, the survey also found that 18 percent of Americans watch CNN most often versus 16 percent for Fox News.

Is this really news? Everyone thinks that his or her party is being maligned by the media. Perhaps that’s a good sign for the press corps.

I am troubled by the continuing idea that reporting negatively about the consequences of war is, in some way, endangering the nation. Do people not understand that it’s not coverage of the war that makes the war dangerous or bad or complicated, it’s the act of war itself that is dangerous and complicated and often very bad. I guess there are legions of people out there who expect all coverage of events in Iraq and Afghanistan to be rote-reported feature stories on Private John Doe and his personal mission to bring candy and baseball to all the grateful children of the Middle East. Maybe my age makes me more bewildered at this whole idea; I have grown up thinking that Vietnam shattered the American dream-vision of war and conflict and helped establish the importance of some transparency in military dealings. But maybe the first Gulf War put things back into that black-and-white area for people; and we have Mr. Cheney to thank for that (since he was Secretary of Defense and highly effective at blocking and packaging media access).

I find the news about CNN vs. Fox News encouraging. I also think that most of the moves Klein is making at CNN are, if not brilliant, at least interesting. The International News hour at noon is a cool new trick. I heart Becky Anderson.

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