Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dover: If it bleeds it leads

Dover is where our fallen first touch down on American soil on their final journey home. I recently posted pieces from two men more than qualified to have an informed firsthand opinion about the president overturning the long-time ban of the media from Dover; one was my friend Robert Stokely, Gold Star Father, and the other was Old Blue, active duty military, and blogger par excellence.

I have been listening the last few days to the furore over this latest "mistake" of the current White House resident. I am having a hard time deciding if he is just being disingenuous when he declares that it is now up to individual families whether or not to allow the media to photograph the Dover ceremonies; I am trying to figure out if he is merely callous or just plain stupid in the ways of the media machinations.

The debate over Obama's latest slash and burn of all his predecessor's decisions has raged all over the internet. It appears that *some* special interest groups would want the media to document their loved one's return home in a casket, validating the president's assertion that "the true cost of war" should be brought home to the American people. I have always maintained that Gold Star Families' views and decisions should be respected. Of course, I am in the camp that believes that if the media so chose, there are many other ways to show the true cost of war. But we have seen the media has repeatedly chosen to ignore those myriad other ways.

There has been some assertions that this decision to open Dover to the jackels of the msm was Robert Gates' decision, and we really shouldn't blame the president. (Psst! The buck stops at your desk, Mr President.) We have also learned that this decision, which has far reaching consequences, was based on the wishes of a vocal few; the few who have a political point to make using the sacrifice of our fallen as visual aids. Don't believe me? You can find the goods on that one at Blackfive.

Disingenous to think that Obama is unaware of ramifications oif this latest decison? Yes. Obama proved during his election campaign that he knows very well how the media works. During his full speed race to the White House, he showed how expert he is at manipulating the media. His campaign staff proved on a daily basis how the msm can be led like lambs (apologies to lambs here) to massage the message that Obama wanted out there to ensure his proclamation on January 20th. Disingenuous to try and have this latest decision passed off as Robert Gates' decision alone. I am not buying it.

Stupid? Only the most ignorant would really believe that filming of our fallen - as they arrive in Dover - would really be the decision of the individual families. As has been pointed out in various places, a couple of scenarios spring immediately to mind:

1) At the most stressful time for any military family, NOT ONE of them needs to be pressured by msm to give "permission" for said msm to film the return.

2) Just imagine that more than one family is at Dover to welcome their fallen heroes home. Would the media be capable of respecting say, two out of the three families' wishes to NOT have the return filmed? I doubt it. Which brings me to

3) With modern technology, no reporter needs to be in the face of a military family. Long range zoom lenses allow any photographer to take a picture from so far away, the families may not even be aware that their most private grief in those initial moments, is being recorded by the msm. Technology also allows that once a picture is used on even one occasion, on one internet site, the original subject and the original photographer then lose all control over how the imagery is used. Do I really need to rehash how *some* groups have used images of our military to press home their own twisted political agendas? No, I didn't think so.

Which brings me to the "if it bleeds, it leads." It is no secret by now that I am a trained seal (errrrrr journalist.) I remember very well our weekly classes in ethics. As I used to say to the instructor every week as I entered the room for that class: "Here comes another short lesson!" We used to laugh together about that, but historical evidence shows that ethics seem to be in short supply when the media has column inches to fill. I also used to ask - often: "Why can't we report on the GOOD news?" at which point I was reminded of the credo "if it bleeds, it leads. Bad news sells." Do I need to remind you that I will probably never work in any msm 'news' room? No, I didn't think so.

Imagine if you will, a young 'reporter' sent to Dover to cover the return of fallen hero. One of the family members is cognisant enough to disallow any filming of the private proceedings. The reporter calls his/her editor and says there is no story here because... that is where ethics come in. It is well known that the msm is bleeding red ink. As these dinosaurs sink into oblivion, and they struggle for their last gasp of relevance, it is no stretch to imagine/know that individual, and corporate, ethics will be thrown out as they jockey for a 'scoop.' Fact is, as I was taught, any event taking place on public property is 'fair game' for the media. That was drilled into me as part of the legalities of journalism.

Respect? Not so much. I have long held the opinion that the tone of any group or country is set by the people at the top. That holds true from the president, to the managing editor of any media outlet. There are more than a few instances showing the president's lack of respect for our military, going back a few years. There are also many documented instances of the msm disrespecting our military and their families. Do any of us who don't wear the rose coloured glasses really believe that the msm will "change" overnight and suddenly become morally and ethically responsible, respectful, in the way they report? No, I didn't think so. For a far more eloquent smackdown of the media, be sure and read Major Z's piece over at "From My Position..." here.

So is this latest ruling a fait accompli? Are we all supposed to just roll over and allow the media into Dover? No! And this is where all Americans (and friends of America) can make a difference. Claire, over at Knee Deep in the Hooah! has put together a list of contacts which everybody should note and write or call or.....to make our views known:

Alright people, give ‘em hell!


I know that a lot of you feel just as angry as I do about the recent lift on a nearly 18-year old ban that kept the media from photographing or video taping the arrival of fallen soldiers at Dover. I have heard from some Gold Star families I know and they are beside themselves with anger and grief. Suffice it to say that many of us feel outright betrayed. That ban was there for a reason.

If you are just stumbling onto this site and don’t know much about the issue, you can read my opinion HERE.

Also, HERE are a COUPLE of other OPINIONS I truly appreciate.

If you are as ticked off as I am, then get in touch with the following people . I am copying the following contact information I found on From my position… On the way!

If you want to write a letter, but you aren’t sure what to say, you have my permission to use any part of my write up you want. I may try and draft a form letter for people to download. We need to let them know how angry this makes us....

The list is long, but we must make our voices heard. Find the whole list at KDIH here. You may notice I have added Claire's logo to my sidebar. I have added the link to that picture. It leads directly to Claire's list of contacts. That logo will remain on my sidebar until we have accomplished our mission of having President Obama rethink this morally and ethically bankrupt decision. Until he says: "What I ummm...errr...uhhhhh...meant to say was...." and once again rules that no media in Dover.

I always remember the piece "...And then they came for me..."

As McQ in Blackfive says: "It is about Family" and the military is OUR family.

As McQ also says: "Dover is ours." Yes, yes it is! This latest disgraceful debacle cannot - must not - stand. Get on it.


Anonymous said...

Allowing the media to make a circus of what should be private is just plain wrong. Indeed, the buck does stop at your desk Mr. President. What if it was one of YOUR daughters being returned to you? Give the Gold Star Families the respect and privacy they deserve. Reinstate the media ban at Dover.

K-Dubyah said...