Archive for the ‘New York Times’ Category


Apparently everyone is up in arms over the fact that Pentagon public affairs folks host regularly scheduled briefings for retired general officers (who happen to also be on-camera pundits for cable networks) about current military activities.

From Reuters:

Many U.S. military analysts used as commentators on Iraq by television networks have been groomed by the Pentagon, leaving some feeling they were manipulated to report favorably on the Bush administration, The New York Times said in Sunday editions.

A Times report examining ties between the Bush administration and former senior officers who acted as paid TV analysts said they got private briefings, trips and access to classified intelligence meant to influence their comments.

“Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse — an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks,” the newspaper said.

The Pentagon defended its work with the analysts, saying they were given only accurate information.

In other outrageous displays of the obvious news, Democrat and Republican spokespeople are given talking points and corporate CEOs are media trained. Details, tonight at 11.

Update: Jason hits the nail on the head. Check out what he has to say.

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If you aren’t a rabid news hound, you might have passed over yesterday’s op-ed in the New York Times penned by seven men — Buddhika Jayamaha, Wesley D. Smith, Jeremy Roebuck, Omar Mora, Edward Sandmeier, Yance T. Gray and Jeremy A. Murphy.

What isn’t stated in the byline (but is noted at the end of the article) is that these seven men are Soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, N.C., and are on the tail end of a 15-month deployment to Iraq.

What is immediately obvious? These men are critical of the recent media reports that have suggested a rosier picture in Iraq, saying it runs counter to their experience.

These men are no Beauchamps — they are open about who they are, give their full names and are identified by rank (they are all enlisted, none ranked higher than E-6).

In the op-ed, they note that they are expressing their personal opinion and not acting in an official capacity as members of the Armed services. Still, they identify their ranks and their unit — this identification is what gives their claims about lack of progress in Iraq a certain level of authority.

The million dollar question, then, is whether or not it is right for Soldiers to be doing this. Does the right (and obligation) to share your beliefs trump your commitment to your chain of command and the mission? Do Soldiers really have an “out of uniform” public existence, or are you always in uniform when your name is splattered across the pages of the Times?

What are your thoughts? Sound off.

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The New York Times, the oft-cited (though often erroneously) example of “liberal media bias,” is under fire from prominent military bloggers for showing images of a wounded Soldier on their Web site before the family had been notified.

From the Houston Chronicle:

A photograph and videotape of a Texas soldier dying in Iraq published by the New York Times have triggered anger from his relatives and Army colleagues and revived a long-standing debate about which images of war are proper to show.

The journalists involved, Times reporter Damien Cave and Getty Images photographer Robert Nickelsberg, working for the Times, had their status as so-called embedded journalists suspended Tuesday by the Army corps in Baghdad, military officials said, because they violated a signed agreement not to publish photos or video of any wounded soldiers without official consent.

New York Times foreign editor Susan Chira said Tuesday night that the newspaper initially did not contact the family of Army Staff Sgt. Hector Leija about the images because of a specific request from the Army to avoid such a direct contact.

“The Times is extremely sensitive to the loss suffered by families when loved ones are killed in Iraq,” Chira said. “We have tried to write about the inevitable loss with extreme compassion.”

She said that after the newspaper account, with a photograph of the soldier, was published Monday, a Times reporter in Baghdad made indirect efforts to tell the family of the video release later that day. The video was still available for viewing on the Times’ Web site Tuesday night, when the newspaper notified clients of its photo service that the photograph at issue was no longer available and should be eliminated from any archives.

There is no doubt that posting that content was wrong.

However, it seems like the New York Times knows it made an error in deciding to remove the photo, so I don’t think there was a deliberate decision to leave the video up. With a massive organization like the New York Times, it is entirely possible that they didn’t realize it was there.
Still, this situation raises some questions:

1) Is this just an example of the price we pay of living in a digital society? Are “mistakes” like this inevitable?

2) If the New York Times is working to correct a mistake, should the blogosphere keep hounding them?

3) The military already has rules for journalists, but they still get broken. What can the military do better to ensure that the rights of Soldiers (and their families) are always respected?

Inquiring minds want to know. Sound off!

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