Columbia Journalism Review Writer Corrected Chickenhawk Claim About Milbloggers

July 31st, 2007 4:19 PM

In an email to libertarian blog Q and O, Columbia Journalism Review writer Paul McLeary corrected his remarks that stated milbloggers preferred to leave fighting for their country to others. He said he “really stepped in it” and was “careless in [his] choice of wording.” If only the New York Times would correct their mistakes as publicly and clearly as McLeary did.

Based on his explanation, it appears he said he wasn't calling milbloggers chickenhawks, he was calling bloggers like Hugh Hewitt chickenhawks and “didn't take the time to clearly define what (he) was talking about.”

He also fell back on popular lefty tactics that are designed to eliminate opposing opinions. In addition to the chickenhawk gambit, McLeary insisted that writers should physically set foot in Iraq and Afghanistan, limiting discussion to only those reporters and bloggers who have been to those countries, unless, of course, the writer has an anti-military or anti-war position. Good thing that NewsBusters' Mark Finklestein has been to Iraq!

Here is the portion of McLeary's email that Q and O posted (bold mine):

I really walked into this one.
I actually spend a lot of time on milblogs. I was careless in my choice of wording when I wrote the piece. What I meant was the whole community of blogs that have sprung up in the same universe as milblogs — Hugh Hewitt, etc., who act tough about the war, but have never served, and have never left the comforts of their air-conditioned offices to see what might be going on in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I've written a lot about milblogs, actually: Interviewed Matthew Currier Burden for CJR, as well as a couple soldiers who were blogging for the New York Times. I've also spoken to, and exchanged emails with Yon and Bill Roggio and such, and I blogged the whole time I was in Iraq back in '06, which doesn't make me a milblogger, but hey, it's something, I guess.
Like I said, I really stepped in it because I didn't take the time to clearly define what I was talking about.

So, in addition to the standard leftist chickenhawk trump card, McLeary added the requirement of visiting the actual locations being discussed. This “Gaze the Ground” policy is just another method to shut down debate. In respect to the war, it significantly limits the people who are “allowed” to report or write about or discuss it, but strangely, those with anti-war or anti-military views are exempted. Funny how that works. It's interesting that McLeary didn't mention the “know-nothing” Michelle Malkin again. I guess someone told him that she has been to Iraq.

Following this logic, reporters can't write about foreign countries unless they have touched toes to soil, which would make much of journalism almost impossible, because it is neither affordable nor practical for journalists to visit each country they cover.

I wonder if McLeary has visited every spot he has written about?

On the other hand, Gaze the Ground reporting should really put a crimp into reporting about anthropogenic global warming. How can someone get hysterical about the shrinking glaciers and drowning polar bears unless they have actually watched it happen—or at least taken a weekend Alaskan cruise?

It was a polite but preachy correction. Everyone, whether writing to a mother-in-law, writing for the New York Times or blogging about cats will mangle a sentence in a way that changes the meaning and results in a correction. Now, McLeary just needs to correct his Gaze the Ground policy...


Contact Lynn at tvisgoodforyou2 AT yahoo DOT com