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The Military’s Media Whores: On Ethics, Power, Rapport and Responsibility

• Maximilian Forte

First, my thanks to Erik Davis (colleague, long time friend of this blog) for directing my attention to this brilliant piece by Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone: Lara Logan, You Suck, from which I will quote extensively in the extracts that follow. This is a “notes and quotes” feature of this blog, apart from this commentary.

Second, we have encountered some of these issues before, on this blog, and about the writing on this blog. The intense scorn, dismissal, and ad hominem attacks by those who fancy themselves professional, serious and credible journalists, against our co-blogger and independent journalist, John Stanton–scorn coming from those who failed to ever expose the Human Terrain System for what it is, who failed to ever contradict Stanton with different facts, who served as embeds, and who have offered nothing beyond their credentials as a means of disputing Stanton.

Third, and very much related to the last: It hurts to get scooped off the face of the earth. This is especially true for members of a credentialed elite, upstaged by someone who does not observe the same rules of respect for power. The Logan-Hastings conflict should be a sobering reminder to those who replace journalism with boosterism, in the name (of all things) of “balance”–which in practice is code for prostituting oneself to power, much like “nuance” has degenerated into “don’t tell me anything negative, about our side.”

Fourth, we are back to the media as a form of militainment, of collaborating with the military’s preferred version of itself in order to gain access to it (as if it were a private resource). It turns out that Lara Logan is married to a private defense contractor. Now, where have seen the military-supportive professional married to a contractor before? Oh yeah, right here. Of course CBS is itself owned by a defense contractor, and the Pentagon has a PR wing with a staff larger than the whole State Department, and a budget in the billions. “Freedom of the press” has degenerated into freedom to buy the press, a free market for the truth: whoever has the most money, makes their version of the truth stick. As for the hordes of bloggers and twitterers–we likely would not be here if we actually felt we had a say, and saw the truth, in this neo-totalitarian hybrid of commercialized and militarized production of orthodoxy.

Fifth, let’s not lose sight of some of the biggest issues involved here. As a senior adviser to General Stanley McChrystal said, “If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular.” That should surely be the most important standard by which to judge this affair–we are dealing with a publicly funded war after all, and not the bruised feelings and career of some general. Lara Logan’s retort, below, is quite alarming and revealing. Let’s not forget the words of that vile, subversive, radical, revolutionary rabble-rouser, President (and General) Dwight D. Eisenhower:

“The total influence [of the military-industrial complex]–economic, political, even spiritual–is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government….we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”


1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Die Daily
Entered on:

4.7 billion, wow. And we're kicking their butts for pennies. Notch one more up for the private sector, I guess. It's fascinating watching the death-throes of a modern-day dinosaur. Sad and pathetic, but fascinating.

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