Some news pundits seek audiences and ratings while others have a very focused political agenda; either way, the misuse of dramatic images out of Iraq seems to repeat the reporting excesses of the Vietnam era. Will these media figures pen their regrets long after their words or images have taken their deadly toll? Is the American public well-served by news anchors who pontificate rather than present, who strive to replicate the dubious ability of respected anchor to turn victory into defeat by his pronouncements at his microphone, or by news reporters who don't merely wish to report the news of their particular beat, but rather wish to emulate now famous investigative reporters, overthrowning a sitting president by the slant of their story even if that drives them to editorialize on the news, fabricate their sources and even create news out of whole cloth to further a partisan agenda? How is that public served by rabidly partisan media figures dismissing the heartfelt convictions of private citizens as being part of an "attack machine?" McCarthy is alive and well, but now garbed in the guise of those he would have called "fellow travellers."  Before asking others to apologize or resign, there are many in the media who have reasons to fall on their own swords, but lack the character to do so.

The Fourth Estate is a Fifth Column
by Bob Lonsberry

May 12, 2004

I guess "60 Minutes II" has its first kill.

A guy named Nick Berg.

It was his misfortune to be an enemy captive during sweeps. A lot of people have died to protect the First Amendment, but this is the first time the First Amendment itself has killed one of them outright.

The media and the politicians started an orgy and Nick Berg had to pay the tab. You pump those pictures of abused Iraqi prisoners long enough and pretty soon there's going to be hell to pay.

But then, that's OK. It gives them another story, another thing to criticize the president for, another tool to demoralize the country with, another way to tear down our troops.

And we're left to ponder the question: When do politics and journalism become treason? And when will all those squawking whores realize they have blood on their hands?

About a half a dozen inbred low-ranking Reservists roughed up and humiliated some Iraqi prisoners. It was wrong, it was an embarrassment, it was a violation of our values.

But at least we have values.

Unlike these savages with their "God is great" shouts while they saw the head off a hog-tied cell phone salesman. They rant and rave about "Muslim dignity and honor" and then act like the sub-humans they are. What a filthy, hateful, degenerate society they speak for.

And we played right into their hands.

Billion-dollar media companies showing pictures over and over and over again of some naked guys with hoods on their heads. The abuse of those prisoners was inexcusable, but so, too, is the completely disproportional and sensational manner in which it has been reported. These isolated and essentially insignificant abuses have been repeated incessantly day after day while every other issue of the war has been ignored and buried.

The pictures depict real events, but the emphasis upon them without context or proportionality creates an impression that is deceptive and false.

And evidence of a disturbing double standard.

The same networks that grind the mill of these pictures, have long since decided not to show pictures of the collapsing twin towers. They never showed video of the scores and scores of people who leapt to their deaths from the World Trade Center. Americans in Iraq just weeks ago were murdered and mutilated and their bodies were strung up from a bridge -
but we don't see those pictures. Each week soldiers and Marines are blown up and shot, and we don't see pictures of them struggling against their wounds on the field of battle.

Why is it that photographs of the bad things the other side does to us are never broadcast while pictures of bad things we do to them are trumpeted around the world?

Why is it that the American press is decidedly anti-American in this conflict? And can anyone deny that, in light of Nick Berg's murder, that the American news media functions as an aide and facilitator of terrorist hate?

Didn't the American media give Nick Berg's murderers both an excuse and an outlet for their terroristic butchery?

And wouldn't it be better if the next time they broadcast pictures of naked Iraqis in a pyramid they also show pictures of those "God is great" boys waving Nick Berg's head around, and then ask their viewers: Whose prisoner would you rather be, the Americans' or the terrorists'?

At the end of the day, we humiliated their prisoners and they murdered ours. Neither is right, but one is a whole lot worse than the other.

And it should not be forgotten, either, that while the prisoners we hold are suspected terrorists and mass murderers - all of them enemy combatants - the prisoner they killed was some out-of-work civilian hoping to find a job. He went to Iraq to peacefully help Iraqis, and their Muslim brothers butchered him.

So who's got the stink finger now?

It's easy to see the enemy for the lice they are. But it's important to recognize the useful idiots in the media and politics who seem to help them. Democrat politician after Democrat politician cried about the prison abuse, their presidential candidate even used the issue to raise money - all while they knew Americans were being held by terrorists and insurgents, and while any thinking person would know that continued attention to the prisoner abuse could only bring difficulty or death to captive Americans.

Well, now they have a notch on their gun.

You'd hope they'd learn a lesson.

But they won't.

They'll just keep it up, and to hell with anybody who gets hurt along the way.

It looks like the Fourth Estate has become the Fifth Column.

Bob Lonsberry (c) 2004


  "Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend."
Margaret Thatcher