Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Are Oregonians Doing?

I have some old issues of the Oregonian from World War II. The Oregonian actually printed a servicemen’s edition which was miniaturized to be more easily sent to servicemen. That edition carried news of the war effort (which often was the front page headline story), the editorial page, some national and local news, sports news, and, of course, the comics.

A servicemen’s edition wouldn’t even be considered today. A main feature of the WWII edition was news of what US and allied troops were doing. But one rarely hears from today's Oregonian what US and allied troops, not to mention Oregon troops, are actually doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. From the news coverage one assumes they are doing, well, nothing--except to die now and again.

Journalists didn't cover WWII, as opposed to Iraq and Afghanistan, because it was safe. In fact the WWII issue that I highlight in the photo reports on the death of war correspondent William Makin, who “died Tuesday of wounds suffered while reporting United States army attacks in the Cherbourg peninsula.”

If there are modern “war correspondents”, none of them seems to write well enough to get a story published very often on "United States army attacks" in Iraq and Afghanistan. It looks like war correspondent covering US troops is no longer the place where the media puts ace reporters. If you want a quick trip to oblivion, sign up for that job.

The place for quick advancement is to be embedded, not with US troops, but with terrorists and insurgents. When they capture and kill, it gets headlines. When our troops capture and kill, it doesn’t even merit a yawn.

Except to the folks back home. I have yet to talk to an Oregonian who says they would not be interested to hear what Oregon servicemen and women are encountering and accomplishing. I bet none of those interested Oregonians would be turned off if the reports were published in a daily section on the front page.

To the Oregonian: How many of the enemy have our troops captured or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan today?

It looks like the people not interested in US (and Oregon) troops are reporters and editors. What a sad commentary.


Mike's America said...

I hope you send this in as a letter to the editor. Check their letters policy for length and edit if you need to.

But these newspapers who demand we hold politicians to account are rarely, if ever, held to account themselves for failing to tell the American people the WHOLE story.

terrance said...

You're right, Mike, newspapers should be held to account.

In one way they are. Their subscription rates and advertising are falling because people realize that if they want good news they need to get it from other places.

I used to get 60%-70% of my news from the newspapers. I now get about 20% of my news there. I still scan through them, but find all too often that the story I read yesterday on the internet from AP or Reuters or the LA Times Service is what they print today. Deja vu!

Worse than that, often I know more about the story than what the newspaper prints because I'm not stuck with the one source they choose to print. I not only can go to secondary sources like the news services but to the direct source via press releases/interviews from the Department of Defense, the White House, or even the UN.

So, all too often I know they are being one-sided or myopic.

In the case of news about our troops, it's obvious that they are one-sided. They don't even attempt to report what's going on.

Their credibility (and subscriptions) continue to tank.