TUESDAY'S LETTERS: Pro-Israel Bias in Media? Iraq Commander's Column, Lying Politicos and Journalists

By: E&P Staff In today's letters, a retired military man shares his thoughts about the recent flap over a Major General's column in a Georgia paper, charges that the media -- and politicians -- are cynical and manipulative, and a reader thinks the press is stretching to find negative stories about presidential candidate Mitt Romney.


Weighing in on the Major General's Column in Savannah

If there are reporters in the Savannah Morning News newsroom who are "quite concerned" and object to the column of Maj. Gen. Lynch running in the paper, then they should agitate for their own reporters to go over and extensively report first hand. This is the third deployment for the Fort Stewart-based 3rd Infantry Division and the only time I am aware reporters from the paper were reporting on the unit first hand was March-April 2003 when military reporter Noelle Phillips and photographer John Carrington were embedded. If they object to Maj. Gen. Lynch's "... as expected ... positive view of the war and the U.S. chances for success" then expend the funds to go check out his veracity. I suspect they'll find his integrity intact.

As someone who lives in the Washington, D.C. area, I read many commentaries particularly from politicians, in the Washington Post, Washington Times, and the Baltimore Sun. While I have no evidence to the contrary, I somehow find it hard to believe that these politicians, especially those in the U.S. Congress, pen their own opinion pieces. No one blinks and no one questions this practice. That there is concern that Maj. Gen. Lynch may have had some help writing his commentary seems to me a double standard.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are models for what local/regional papers can offer readers with long-term embeds. They reported both the good and the bad during the year-long deployments of National Guard units from their respective states and their readership was well-informed. They were able to piece together the jigsaw puzzle about a difficult topic quite well. Local/Regional newspapers are doing a disservice to their readers by not investing in first hand reporting on their nearby military units deployed overseas. We know too little about what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan not because the press in too focused on the bad news, but rather because most publishers are too focused on the bottom dollar line to invest in robust reporting.

Lt. Col. Michael Birmingham
U.S. Army
Former 3rd ID PAO during OIF I


Media Are 'Concerted, Malicious, and Unrelenting'

George Bush and Dick Cheney have been spreading hate speech for the past 5 1/2 years, demonizing and inciting hatred toward people with brown skin who have "our oil" under "their sand", in an ongoing effort to promote the interests of the international oil cartel.

While Don Imus made a dumb and insensitive off-the-cuff remark, the role of the mass media in America has been concerted, malicious, and unrelenting. Given all the Iraqis that have died in order to expand the American Empire, it is extremely hypocritical for the media to ignore its promotion of an society in which people are conditioned, indeed brainwashed, to judge one another by the color of their skin rather than by the content of their character.

Terry L. Clark
Arcata, Calif.


Lying Politicos

When will our politicians and news media ever learn to stop lying/quibbling and start telling the full truth, nothing but the Truth?

Every politician I have known twists the world events around to meet their agenda, and to my knowledge, never tells the truth fully! They are very good at quibbling -- most are lawyers aren't they? The GOP is not what it used to be back when I was much younger ... even the President throws out threats and promises that he doesn't keep. ... He is also letting our troops down by not supporting Congress' most recent bill ... didn't see him hanging around the White House over the Easter break to sign off or veto any bills! The news media is no better!

Cloyce Crawford

Not to riff too much on an old Alcoholics Anonymous line, but President Bush's behavior, attitude, emotions and mindset all too often remind me of a "dry drunk."

Steve Snyder
Navasota, Texas


Bill Clinton Investigates Himself

This is very interesting. I wonder how honest this investigation really was.

I am most interested in the money President Clinton has made since he left the White House. Who are his contributors to his library (Marc Rich?), who has him on their payroll (Arab leaders?).

Senator Clinton must be asked these questions and the information must come openly and honestly.

C. Merritt
Northridge, Calif.

[Bill Clinton] has lied so much that he does not know the truth anymore. Will we never be rid of the jerk?

Terry Saulsbury


Romney's Good Will Hunting

Are you guys so hard up for negative information on Mitt Romney that all you can do is track down how many rabbits he's killed. Are you that desperate?

Robin Harmer


Zell, Tribune, and Pro-Israel Bias

There's one aspect of Sam Zell's proposed acquisition of the Tribune company that seems to have gotten no coverage by E & P or anyone else. That's Mr Zell's attitude towards Israel, and its potential impact on Middle East coverage.

From Wikipedia:(Zell) is also believed to be a strong supporter of Israel as well as a major contributor to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee

There has never been an investigation by the industry press, or any major U.S. media, of the possible effect of the pro-Israeli views of many publishers and editors on Middle East coverage, to my knowledge. This despite the known strong pro-Israeli views of powerful editors like A.M. Rosenthal of the New York Times; reports from observers from Robert Fisk to Jimmy Carter of complaints from U.S. journalists about biased editing; and occasional leaked stories about publishers such as Mortimer Zukerman and Izzy Asper squelching criticism of Israel.

Consistently pro-Israeli reporting could have had a powerful effect on American attitudes towards Arabs, Islam, and the "War on Terror." This is an extraordinarily important topic. It's as worthy of attention as the many stories on corporate influence on reporting. Has E&P ever thought of addressing it?

Bruce Dodds
Boston, Mass.


More on Pat Tillman's Death

Will Daniel, in his letter to the editor challenges previous letter writer J. Scott Taylor's assertion that the media deliberately fails to note the late Pat Tillman's atheism because it might disturb Christian conservatives and "mess with their heads." Daniel claims that, "I hang out with a few Christians (and atheists (sic) as well), and never have I heard a Christian say anything bad about an athiest (sic) who died for his country."

I wonder how Mr. Daniel would explain the words and actions of Lt. Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich who was Tillman's Regimental Executive Officer:

"His parents continue to ask for it to be looked at," Kauzlarich told Mike Fish of ESPN. "And that is really their prerogative ... But there [have] been numerous unfortunate cases of fratricide and the parents have basically said, 'OK, it was an unfortunate accident.' And they let it go. So this is -- I don't know, these people have a hard time letting it go. It may be because of their religious beliefs ... When you die," Kauzlarich explained to ESPN's Fish, "I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don't believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt."

One would have to look no further than one of Pat Tillman's immediate superiors, a person now most likely implicated in the cover-up of his fratricide, to find a person saying something less than kind about a person who died for his country. Now that wasn't difficult at all to uncover, was it?

This is not to mention Katie Couric and probably numerous others who have still subsequently said on national TV that there are "no atheists in foxholes" despite covering Mr. Tillman's funeral. How comfortable they are in their bigotry.

Gerry Dantone
Center for Inquiry Community of Long Island
Greenlawn, N.Y.


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