Younger Americans may not be familiar with the term, “Yellow Journalism”, but it is part of our history and has been around for more than 100 years. It first was used in 1898 to describe the writings of such historic figures as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. It was common practice during those years for journalists, led by Pulitzer and Hearst to print inaccurate information, opinion as news, distorted accounts of events and biased interpretations of anything with which the writer disagreed. Because there was no other source of information, newspapers gained huge political power and had few challenges to anything put into print. Those citizens who had a better understanding and grasp of events taking place in America labeled the practice of lying to the public in print...Yellow Journalism.
Does the practice of Yellow Journalism continue today? If you are a member of the United States Armed Forces your answer will be a resounding “Yes”. It is evident in almost every mainstream media report on the military.
Now in fairness to the media, there was a time in our history when journalists who reported the news treated those who take up the use of arms in defense of the nation, honorably. Historical archives are filled with eyewitness accounts of heroism. There are detailed records of battles, victories, defeats, danger and humor. This was true of the Civil War as seen in the reports about both sides of the conflict. The horror of World War I, for the most part, was treated in a forthright manner. World War II saw print journalism and radio united in patriotic defense of the American fighting men and women.
War Correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed in combat two years before I put on a uniform, but I have heard stories of his tributes to the fighting man uncountable times. His reporting and devotion to our foot soldiers has become legendary.
I am among the few still standing who can recall famed Combat Photographers Joe Rosenthal and Lou Lowery as friends. They are both known for their photographic reporting on the Battle of Iwo Jima. There are not many people around today who heard the accounts of their inching past both wounded and dead Marines on February 23, 1945 to photograph the battle and six men raising aloft the Stars and Stripes on Mount Suribachi. These heroic men were true combat correspondents and can be held up as representatives of a news reporting class that has faded into history.
By the time we were engaged in the Vietnam conflict liberalism had permeated the entertainment industry, our schools, colleges and almost every aspect of the media. The impact this godless, socialistic philosophy would have on future journalists was preordained.
Those who take time to truthfully examine history will see that the United States Armed Forces won every battle they engaged in across Vietnam. American politicians, with major assistance from the left leaning, liberal media lost the war.
Today, the corrosiveness of liberalism is so far reaching that it touches every corner of the country. This philosophy is so deeply ingrained in our traditional media schools and news outlets that few contradicting thoughts can reach the public.
In reporting the war in Iraq the press has developed a preconceived attitude about everything that is happening. The end of the story is written before the first shot is fired and almost without exception our military establishment is presented to the American people painted in various shades of contempt.
Should you feel this is overstatement try a quick computer search on news accounts of Abu Ghraib. You will discover there are more than 15 million entries on the prison abuse incidents. If you search out reports on military heroes in Iraq, you will find the entries mainly limited to Internet Ezines, Talk Radio and the Fox News Channel.
Why are things this way you ask? After all, national polls tell us American military men and women are the most honored and respected people in our country. The best explanation I have read appeared in the June 13 online edition of Human Events. The article “Why Do Liberal Media Despise Soldiers?” was written by Rabbi Aryeh Spero and it examines the media trend of every few months searching out stories that will denigrate our troops. He even comments on the Abu Ghraib incident that was turned into a national discussion on torture by the press. “In the scheme of possible war atrocities”, the Rabbi says, “It doesn’t even rank. It was more uncouth behavior than atrocity.” The Rabbi further reports “it is equally obvious that the media do not wait to issue its guilty judgment, even before the facts come in.”
The column attempts to answer the “why” of the title by an observation that “in the mind of today’s smug liberals, our soldiers are rednecks - and rednecks when let loose and not under the control of ‘civilized’ liberals, do what comes natural to rednecks...” These young men and women are viewed as poor, uneducated, have no chance for advancement or moving upward in society. They also have a lust for violence. Thus, their only option is to enlist.
The Rabbi brings into print what so many of us have thought and been unable to put into words. He says it is because the liberal moralizer deep down knows that he does not have the physical courage and might of the soldier. Compared to the soldier, he is a coward and weakling. His strength lies only in bringing law suits and sounding morally superior to the rest of us.”
Liberal media members have appeared on various forums to defend their lack of reporting positive developments in Iraq. First they recount the number of reporters and photographers who have been killed or wounded while covering the war. Then they usually explain how very dangerous things are and how they tried to cover good events, but found it impossible because of the violence. But, they never have an explanation as to why the hundreds of news accounts written and released to them by military correspondents never make it into print. Usually they brush the questions aside saying those articles are only government public relations reports.
This writer thinks it is far more likely to be as Rabbi Spero reports, that “By and large, certain very liberal cosmopolitan men are jealous of what a soldier can do, and have a desire, a need to destroy the object of their envy.”
From this vantage point it appears as if they only bring out their “yellow” by their outrageous reporting.