New York Times - Do They Really Hate the Military?

May 20th, 2006 5:35 PM

Does the NYT so hate the military that they even refuse to learn the slightest thing about it? Apparently they have such disdain for the US military they cannot even find a writer in their employ that knows even standard facts about the military, much less an editor that knows enough to make the proper corrections.

On may 11th, the NYT published a story about the funeral of Sgt. Jose Gomez which featured right at the top of the page a photograph of the Sgt's Mother and Father at the funeral, Mom being consoled by a member of the US military. The caption of this photo identifies that member of the US military as an "officer" when the soldier in question is clearly wearing the rank of Sgt. First Class. (See story –Click Here- Registration required)

Are we to believe that the NYT couldn't find anyone in their offices that knew the difference between an officer and a Sgt. To get this caption correct? And that was just "mistake" number one in this story.

OK. Everyone is due a mistake once in a while, right? Though it seems as if "mistake" is more the norm for Jason Blair's NYT these days, but that aside…

Unfortunately, there was another “mistake” in this story that adds up to at least a complete indifference about our military. Later on in the story Sgt. Gomez’ military awards are mentioned.

The Times wrote, “…a two-star general presented Mrs. Gomez with the purple star and bronze star that President Bush had authorized her son to receive.” (emphasis mine)

A purple star? Even the most rudimentarily informed American citizen has heard of the military award called the purple heart but the Times showed a complete lack of knowledge of even one of the most common awards it issues.

To top it all off, there was a further ”mistake” that really seems quite odd. They even got the credit for the photographer wrong. The original publishing of the story had a photo credit for the photo of the Sgt’s coffin leaving the church given to a staff photographer named Ruby Washington. Yet, the correction reveals that the photo was actually taken by staff photographer Ozier Muhammad. If one were conspiratorial minded, one might wonder why they tried to hide the fact that a photographer with an obvious Muslim name was hidden and replaced by an obvious American name? I’ll not speculate further about this one, but it sure seems odd, doesn’t it? It's bad enough that the NYT writer couldn't get it, but all this slipped past the editors, too.

In any case, this kind of slipshod reporting adds up to the NYT finding that they just don’t care enough about the US military to get even rudimentary things about of armed forces correct. And, if they cannot be bothered to know what a purple heart is or what the sleeve rank of a Sgt. Looks like, how can we trust them to get the important things right?

Click here for the correction pages on the NYT website

-By Warner Todd Huston