Sgt. T.F. Boggs will be in studio with me today, and most of the show will feature him and other milbloggers from around the country. I expect the contrast with yesterday’s interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Joseph Rago will be significant. Both young men are journalists. Sgt. Boggs has also served two tours in Iraq.
The first guest will be Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Still trying to book Senator McCain into a first time, much less regular appearance on the program.
Tomorrow I will be replaying the program featuring the SemperFiFund and the injured Marines from around the country (and in the studio) that the Fund has served. As the year comes to a close, if you are making last minute contributions as many do, please keep the fund in mind.
Question of the day: How does the media help us win in Iraq? Or at least stop helping our enemies win? Key jump-off: USMC Lt.General Mattis’ comments on the media’s role in Iraq:
Mattis: I was talking to a lieutenant in Haditha, he told me that because they are now all connected nowadays in their FOBs, he could read stories about Haditha. He said, ‘I guarantee you there has not been a reporter in Haditha in my last two and a half months here.’
We’re seeing, I think, an unwitting passing of the enemy’s message, uncritical, unwitting passing of the enemy’s message because the enemy has successfully denied the Western media access to the battlefields.
I’m not sure what Lloyds of London is charging now, I think it’s over $5,000 a month insurance for a reporter or photographer to go in. But the murder, the kidnapping, the intimidation means that, in many cases, we have media folks who are relying on stringers who are Iraqi.
Now you can have any kind of (complaint) about the American media or Western media you want, but there is at least a nod, an effort toward objectivity. The stringers who are being brought in, who are bringing in these stories, are not bringing that same degree of objectivity.
So on the one hand, our enemy is denying our media access to the battlefield, where anything perhaps that I say as a general is subject to any number of interpretations, challenges, questions, but the enemy’s story basically gets there without that because our media is unable to challenge them. It’s unwitting, but at the same time, it can promote the enemy’s agenda, simply because there is an apparent attempt at objectivity.
Reporter: Would you like to see more Western media there then?
Mattis: Oh, we would be happy to have more Western media out there. We’ve had Al-Jazeera out with our troops.