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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez: Media Have Lost Their Sense of Ethics

Once in a while you run across something that is so ironic you just have to stop for a second and laugh out loud.

Let me get one thing out of the way first, no one from the right side of the aisle, including President Bush, has denied that mistakes have been made in the war on terror. The strategies that General Petraeus is using now should have been implemented years before it was.

That is not news and in researching previous wars, key words in the search engines, mistakes World War II, or replacing the words World War II with any other war will bring up information on the mistakes made in every war.

Each war is different, each war requires we learn from our mistakes and make changes until we find a formula that works.

Now to the ironic story of the day.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who led U.S. forces in Iraq for a year after the March 2003 invasion, has come out with some harsh criticism of the administration in how the war was handled, which is fair enough, he was there in 2003-2004, he can speak to that and be believed as he is saying what we have all pointed out and admitted for quite a while.

He goes on to speak about our current efforts, which, since he is not there witnessing what is happening, the progress being made nor the reactions or interactions with the Iraqi population and security forces, his words when speaking about current efforts hold no sway with me.

Conditions have changed since he was there and only those there are capable of telling us about how things are "now".

The irony though comes from the media and how they are reporting his words.

Here are some of the head lines over at memeorandum.

NYT "Former Top General in Iraq Faults Bush Administration"
NYT "Ex-Commander Says Iraq Effort Is 'a Nightmare "
Wapo "Ex-Commander In Iraq Faults War Strategy "
AP "Ex-general: Iraq `nightmare' for US"

The left has picked up on this like it is the Holy Grail, words from an ex-commander that was there over 3 years ago, which like I said, when he spoke about conditions 3 /1/2 yrs ago, he was completely correct, but they have jumped on his analysis of how things are now... a man not even there and hasn't been for years.

Still not seeing the irony?

That is the statements that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez made that haven't been headlined, have largely been ignored by the media, the statements regarding the press, the media and the lack of "Journalistic Ethics" , (those statements were said before he even addressed the strategies in Iraq), in how our media has reported the war to date.

As Democracy Project pointed out, 40% of this mans words were ripping into the media, the "bad reporting", the "refusal to print corrections", the "political agenda" reporting that did not reflect the "truth" and the way journalists have "compromised" their "integrity".

The list of criticisms for the media are harsh and I only named a small portion of them above, but true and by ignoring that 40% of his statement, the media has done exactly what he accuses them of doing in the statement.

Reporting his words by ignoring half of them is the irony here.

Here is what he had to say about the media, the part the media conveniently left out.

Thank Captain's Quarters for reformatting the print to normal size because the original transcript was all in caps.

Almost invariably, my perception is that the sensationalistic value of these assessments is what provided the edge that you seek for self aggrandizement [sic] or to advance your individual quest for getting on the front page with your stories! As I understand it, your measure of worth is how many front page stories you have written and unfortunately some of you will compromise your integrity and display questionable ethics as you seek to keep America informed. This is much like the intelligence analysts whose effectiveness was measured by the number of intelligence reports he produced. For some, it seems that as long as you get a front page story there is little or no regard for the "collateral damage" you will cause. Personal reputations have no value and you report with total impunity and are rarely held accountable for unethical conduct.

Given the near instantaneous ability to report actions on the ground, the responsibility to accurately and truthfully report takes on an unprecedented importance. The speculative and often uninformed initial reporting that characterizes our media appears to be rapidly becoming the standard of the industry. An Arab proverb states - "four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past, the neglected opportunity." Once reported, your assessments become conventional wisdom and nearly impossible to change. Other major challenges are your willingness to be manipulated by "high level officials" who leak stories and by lawyers who use hyperbole to strengthen their arguments. Your unwillingness to accurately and prominently correct your mistakes and your agenda driven biases contribute to this corrosive environment.

All of these challenges combined create a media environment that does a tremendous disservice to America. 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. In many cases the media has unjustly destroyed the individual reputations and careers of those involved. We realize that because of the near real time reporting environment that you face it is difficult to report accurately. In my business one of our fundamental truths is that "the first report is always wrong." Unfortunately, in your business "the first report" gives Americans who rely on the snippets of CNN, if you will, their "truths" and perspectives on an issue. As a corollary to this deadline driven need to publish "initial impressions or observations" versus objective facts there is an additional challenge for us who are the subject of your reporting. When you assume that you are correct and on the moral high ground on a story because we have not respond to questions you provided is the ultimate arrogance and distortion of ethics. One of your highly respected fellow journalists once told me that there are some amongst you who "feed from a pig's trough." if that is who I am dealing with then I will never respond otherwise we will both get dirty and the pig will love it. This does not mean that your story is accurate.

Even more ironic is a portion where he speaks as to why his relationship with the press is difficult. He goes on to list some of the things the press has said about him, including but not limited to:

Let me review some of the descriptive phrases that have been used by some of you that have made my personal interfaces with the press corps difficult:






This is what Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez has been called by the very organizations that are now touting his words as golden, which shows another one of his criticisms to be very accurate.

He said:

All are victims of the massive agenda driven competition for economic or political supremacy. The death knell of your ethics has been enabled by your parent organizations who have chosen to align themselves with political agendas. What is clear to me is that you are perpetuating the corrosive politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war.

My assessment is that your profession, to some extent, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to manipulate what the American public sees on TV, what they read in our newspapers and what they see on the web. For some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases and agendas.

It is astounding to me when I hear the vehement disagreement with the military's forays into informations operations that seek to disseminate the truth and inform the Iraqi people in order to counter our enemy's blatant propaganda. s I assess various media entities, some are unquestionably engaged in political propaganda that is uncontrolled....

So...lets see if I have this right and why I see this as so ironic.

The media, who has called this man, by his own words, a "liar", has said he has "not a strategic thought", has accused him of "not getting it", has called him the "most inexperienced Ltg", and has called him "dense", is now using his words against the war as if they were words handed down from God himself and they do it, because portions of these words match their political agenda. So they use those portions and try to hide the rest of his words.

Are you seeing the extreme irony yet?

Last but not least, after all his criticisms for our past flawed strategy as well as his opinion on our current strategies, he goes on to state something else that the media deliberately ignores:

America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq. A precipitous withdrawal will unquestionably lead to chaos that would endanger the stability of the greater Middle East. If this occurs it would have significant adverse effects on the international community. Coalition and American force presence will be required at some level for the foreseeable future. Given the lack of a grand strategy we must move rapidly to minimize that force presence and allow the Iraqis maximum ability to exercise their sovereignty in achieving a solution.

The media reported a small part of what this man said, deliberately didn't report the majority of what he said and in the process they proved him accurate on the portions of his statement regarding the media, which they hid and pretended that he didn't say, at the same time offering no data to prove his words on the current war strategy being implemented today.

This is where you get your information to base your opinions on, politically driven reporting.


His whole statement can be found here.

Tracked back by:
What the Media did not report from Sanchez’s Speech from Morning Coffee...
Sanchez...The ENTIRE Speecch from Take Our Country Back...