Thursday, August 25, 2005


More Media Spin

Were you dismayed by a recent report in the NY Times that the military was upgrading Body Armor, still working at this late date to replace current body armor that leaves soldiers vulnerable?

It turns out, not to worry. This was a classic example of either willful deceit or blind ignorance on the part of a NY Times Reporter. (Imagine that.)

Jack Kelly, writing at Jewish World Review, took the novel step of following up with a Times source, in this case Colonel Thomas Spoehr, director of materiel for the Army staff. COL Spoehr explained to Times reporter Michael Moss that the Army was proactively improving body armor to protect against potential threats of advanced ammunition that are not (yet anyway) in use in Iraq. As COL Spoehr explained to Kelly:
There are some special types of ammunition that can penetrate the boronic carbide plates. Last year Army leaders became aware of improvements that could be made to the SAPI plates that would protect against most (though not all) of these special types of ammunition.

There is little evidence insurgents in Iraq are using the special types of ammunition that can defeat the "Interceptor." But the Army wanted to be proactive, to defeat a potential threat before it emerged.

"We're taking what we think is a prudent step to guard against a step (the insurgents) could take, but that's a step that really hasn't developed yet," Spoehr said.
Now that's quite a story to tell, isn't it? After all the negative press about the lack of Up Armored Humvees early on in the war, reports of troops being inadequately prepared or protected, the Army goes out of its way to anticipate a potential threat, and take steps to mediate risks ahead of time.

You'd think that would be man bites dog news, no?

For the NY Times, that would be no, actually no, not part of the "all the news fit to print," which I believe can be rephrased, "all the news that fits our prejudices."

As Kelly states, "[COL Spoehr] had a good news story to tell Moss, which Moss converted into a bad news story."

COL Spoehr, the actual source for NY Times Reporter Michael Moss, says the reader is left with the impression that soldiers were at risk, which in fact they were not. And he told Moss everything he told Kelly, yet Moss used not a single positive quote, and spun the story like an "expose."

Kelly concludes:
Americans are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the war in Iraq, because all news about Iraq is presented as bad news, even when it isn't.
(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Links: Mudville Gazette, Basil's Blog, Mudville's Dawn Patrol

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