Sam “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher comments from Israel on the state of modern war reporting:
You don’t need to see what’s happening every day, that’s my personal opinion, you don’t have to share it. But, you know, okay, you don’t have to see, you know, 800 dead, 801 dead. It’s like they drill that in your head. … They want you to sit there saying there are so many people dying. You know these are large, these are numbers, you know I don’t want to take away from that. Let me, uh, think about how to say that again. Just essentially, they keep drilling it into your head, newscast after newscast after newscast.
I think the military should decide what information to give the media and then the media can release it to the public. I don’t believe they need to be in the front lines with soldiers, I don’t believe they need to, uh, you know, be bothering the military for information or for access to certain areas.
Actually, allowing the military to have complete control over the flow of information in and out of war zones is a terrible idea.
First, it goes without saying that the constant bravery of American soldiers deserves our eternal thanks and praise. Still, the military isn’t perfect. Like any other part of the federal government, it can–and does–make mistakes, sometimes big ones.
Having an objective media present in war zones can help expose and remedy problems with the military, thus making our armed forces stronger. Having journalists in war zones also serves as a check on the military, ensuring that soldiers follow protocol and remain professional.
Actual war correspondent Bill Roggio makes the same point:
[I]f Joe’s spent any real time with the military, he’d know they typically don’t want reporters to cheerlead for them. In my experience, all the troops on the ground want is a fair shake (senior commanders may or may not want such candor). If something is working, they want you to tell that story, and if something is going wrong, they want that story out there too. One reason for the latter is that often the media can serve as a back door to get some problems fixed that the chain of command may be ignoring.
I wonder when Pajamas Media will get sick of taking flack for Sam’s tidbits of inane right-wing commentary and just call him home, already. Heck, even Pajamas Media’s own commentators don’t know what they were thinking by sending him to Israel.
How long it will take for conservatives to realize just how much Wurzelbacher is damaging their credibility? If they had any sense, they’d stop treating him like some kind of bizarre right-wing folk hero and just dump him–there are plenty of conservatives out there with good ideas, why keep promoting the ones with bad ideas?