Amid talk among the mainstream media of a sinking economy in which the elderly must live in vans and others cannot afford to drive 35 miles to church on Sundays, the Associated Press did note a drop in unemployment from 2006 to 2007. But even that news was buried in a story about the military and was used to explain trouble had in meeting recruiting goals.
On May 13, an AP story by writer Anne Flaherty used this drop in unemployment to explain that the military is having difficulty recruiting young people. But just a day before, the Associated Press reported that every branch of the military met its recruiting goals for the month of April, some branches even surpassed them. As Warner Todd Huston noted, AP’s Pauline Jelinek reasoned that the military was successful in its recruitment efforts because “other job possibilities” are limited.
Don’t you just hate it when newsrooms can’t agree over which biased meme should rule the day?
In the May 13 story on Senator Jim Webb’s (D-Va.) proposed G.I. Bill reforms and the Pentagon’s opposition to it, Flaherty apparently couldn’t resist the opportunity to express more doom and gloom for the military during this time of a “deeply unpopular” war.
The Pentagon opposes Webb’s overhaul of the G.I. Bill because it allows for eligibility for the G.I. education bill after three years of service which is, according to the Defense Department, too soon. Flaherty wrote, “The Pentagon's opposition to Webb's bill underscores the difficulty the military has had in recruiting and retaining an all-volunteer force at a time when it is engaged in a war that is deeply unpopular with the American public.” While the Defense Department does think that eligibility for the G.I. education bill after three years could cause difficulties in retaining service members, the military met all of April’s recruiting goals and is on track to potentially meet growth figures a year early, according to Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman.
Furthermore, Flaherty noted that retention rates have been “less troublesome in the military, with the Army and Marine Corps exceeding their goals by large margins in 2006 and staying strong in 2007.” Coming to an end on a sour note, Flaherty went on to say, “Still, the Defense Department is worried that its retention numbers could fall as service members are asked to return repeatedly to Iraq and Afghanistan.”