Irresponsible Media Reporting Endangers US Soldiers

Here’s something the Fourth Estate did not include in its latest report on Gen. Sanchez…

The Media created an atmosphere that put our troops in danger. I have been saying this for a long time, I even charge the media with preventing our troops from doing their job, thus the reason we are still in Iraq at the levels we are.

In prior wars, there was always prudence and due diligence in reporting the news, editors made decision of what the public should know about. Not everything known should be disclosed to the public immediately, or sometimes at all. My favorite is when the media reports on Classified Information or Top Secret story lines:

WASHINGTON —  The former top commander of coalition forces in Iraq may have called U.S. efforts there catastrophically flawed and unrealistically optimistic, but much of the criticism of the media by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez has been left unreported.

In his speech to the Military Reporters and Editors Association in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Sanchez accused reporters of “unscrupulous reporting, solely focused on supporting an agenda and preconceived notions of the U.S. military.”

Without naming a specific company, Sanchez said “parent media organizations” have political agendas that direct the news coverage of the war and in some cases put U.S. service members in deadly situations.

What is clear to me is that you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war. My assessment is that your profession, to some, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to manipulate what the American public sees on TV, reads in newspapers and what they see on the Web,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez also took issue with the press over their indictments of his service. Sanchez retired in 2006 after being replaced in Iraq following the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. He was cleared of wrongdoing but became a symbol in some media accounts of flawed leadership.

He acknowledged that much of his career will now be seen through the lens of the Abu Ghraib scandal, and blamed that in part on what he called biased coverage of the scandal in the Stars and Stripes newspaper.

Over the course of this war, tactically insignificant events have become strategic defeats for America because of the tremendous power and impact of the media and by extension, you the journalist,” Sanchez said.

Responding to the comments by Sanchez, Robb Grindstaff, executive editor of Stars and Stripes said Sunday, “We have an organizational policy not to talk to other media about our stories. We don’t comment.”

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