Schadenfreude

Monday, October 15, 2007

You ever seen someone berate someone else with such exacting language that you can't help but feel rotten....and you're not even the one being yelled at?

Enter Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez (U.S. Army - Retired). Last Friday, at the Military Reporters and Editors luncheon briefing, General Sanchez took the press corps to task first, then Congress and the President. He doled-out shame like candy at Halloween.

For a transcript, look here.

And he is right, in my estimation. He is right to berate the press folks for dishonesty and self-aggrandizement. And he is equally right to dismantle Congress and the Preznit for...well...exactly the same thing.

Some gems:

LET ME REVIEW SOME OF THE DESCRIPTIVE PHRASES THAT HAVE BEEN USED BY SOME OF YOU THAT HAVE MADE MY PERSONAL INTERFACES WITH THE PRESS CORPS DIFFICULT:

"DICTATORIAL AND SOMEWHAT DENSE",

"NOT A STRATEGIC THOUGHT",

LIAR,

"DOES NOT GET IT" AND

THE MOST INEXPERIENCED LTG.

IN SOME CASES I HAVE NEVER EVEN MET YOU, YET YOU FEEL QUALIFIED TO MAKE CHARACTER JUDGMENTS THAT ARE COMMUNICATED TO THE WORLD
Okay. So far, so good. Call them out for their personal attacks. But it gets cooler.
THIS IS THE WORST DISPLAY OF JOURNALISM IMAGINABLE BY THOSE OF US THAT ARE BOUND BY A STRICT VALUE SYSTEM OF SELFLESS SERVICE, HONOR AND INTEGRITY. ALMOST INVARIABLY, MY PERCEPTION IS THAT THE SENSATIONALISTIC VALUE OF THESE ASSESSMENTS IS WHAT PROVIDED THE EDGE THAT YOU SEEK FOR SELF AGRANDIZEMENT OR TO ADVANCE YOUR INDIVIDUAL QUEST FOR GETTING ON THE FRONT PAGE WITH YOUR STORIES! AS I UNDERSTAND IT, YOUR MEASURE OF WORTH IS HOW MANY FRONT PAGE STORIES YOU HAVE WRITTEN AND UNFORTUNATELY SOME OF YOU WILL COMPROMISE YOUR INTEGRITY AND DISPLAY QUESTIONABLE ETHICS AS YOU SEEK TO KEEP AMERICA INFORMED.
Heh. Take that....everyone.
ALL ARE VICTIMS OF THE MASSIVE AGENDA DRIVEN COMPETITION FOR ECONOMIC OR POLITICAL SUPREMACY. THE DEATH KNELL OF YOUR ETHICS HAS BEEN ENABLED BY YOUR PARENT ORGANIZATIONS WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH POLITICAL AGENDAS. WHAT IS CLEAR TO ME IS THAT YOU ARE PERPETUATING THE CORROSIVE PARTISAN POLITICS THAT IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY AND KILLING OUR SERVICEMEMBERS WHO ARE AT WAR.
That says it all.

Here's some gems of his assessment of Iraq:
AFTER MORE THAN FOUR YEARS OF FIGHTING, AMERICA CONTINUES ITS DESPERATE STRUGGLE IN IRAQ WITHOUT ANY CONCERTED EFFORT TO DEVISE A STRATEGY THAT WILL ACHIEVE "VICTORY" IN THAT WAR TORN COUNTRY OR IN THE GREATER CONFLICT AGAINST EXTREMISM. FROM A CATASTROPHICALLY FLAWED, UNREALISTICALLY OPTIMISTIC WAR PLAN TO THE ADMINISTRATION'S LATEST "SURGE" STRATEGY, THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS FAILED TO EMPLOY AND SYNCHRONIZE ITS POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND MILITARY POWER. THE LATEST "REVISED STRATEGY" IS A DESPERATE ATTEMPT BY AN ADMINISTRATION THAT HAS NOT ACCEPTED THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REALITIES OF THIS WAR AND THEY HAVE DEFINITELY NOT COMMUNICATED THAT REALITY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AN EVEN WORSE AND MORE DISTURBING ASSESSMENT IS THAT AMERICA CAN NOT ACHIEVE THE POLITICAL CONSENSUS NECESSARY TO DEVISE A GRAND STRATEGY THAT WILL SYNCHRONIZE AND COMMIT OUR NATIONAL POWER TO ACHIEVE VICTORY IN IRAQ.
The rest is an elaboration on exactly that point. But be assured, his angst is directed at who was in charge when we invaded...and the Congress that is in charge now. And the Preznit.

There are some keys in his discussion, including disdain for the "coalition" that's been put together. It was hasty, as he put it, and is under-resourced, especially as the coalition members withdraw. And they withdraw, in his estimation, because we have no plan other than individual political gain.

Go read it in its entireity.

Then let's discuss.

11 comments:

steves 7:31 PM  

He is spot on when it comes to Iraq, but I have some mixed feelings on journalistic ethics. I agree that there are serious problems with the press, but I wonder if it is possible to "seek the truth." I don't mean to sound like some postmodern relativist, but I just don't think there is any such thing as reporting that is entirely free of bias. I think the best we can do is encourage people to get their news from more than one source.

Colin 7:06 AM  

More than one source... or at least the BBC ;-)

More seriously though, I have been watching a lot of BBC World News in the mornings (not the "BBC World News America" that plays at like 6 or 7pm) and I have to say that I am more impressed with the reporting and information I get from them than any one American news production conglomerate. They're not perfect either by any means, but I swear they're more informative about what goes on in our own country than our national news! It's definitely good to hear more than just the American Media's perspective!

News/Journalism is a tough one. What people in American really need to do more than anything is grow a pair and think for themselves. I'm not saying I'm mister Know-it-all (FAR from it in fact...), but too many people take what they hear on the news to be written in stone and don't question things or draw their own conclusions.

Colin 7:08 AM  

Oops, meant to say more...

I mean, it seems like all our Media does anymore is try to make conclusions for us.

Smitty 8:10 AM  

I'm not even so sure they make conclusions for us. In fact, I agree with the general's assessment that they are making conclusions posed by the corporate giants that own them.

This is why every time there is yet another merger of a major news source, I got more and more nervous.

steves 12:39 PM  

Bernard Goldberg's "Bias" was kind of eye opening as to what went on at CBS when he was there. There were certainly attempts to influence the public. Granted, his book is mostly critical of liberal bias, but the same argument can be applied to both sides. OTOH, Noam Chomsky has always said that the media is biased towards the status quo.

I think as long as you accept the fact that there is bias and you know what the bias is, you can usually discern some nugget of what really happened. I am not a big fan of Limbaugh or Hannity, but I give them credit for being clear that they have an agenda.

steves 12:42 PM  

I think that BBC does a decent job, as do some of the other European stations. I always liked Sky News and RTE.

Smitty 2:02 PM  

Limbaugh or Hannity, but I give them credit for being clear that they have an agenda.

Notice the same can NOT be said of The No Spin Zone and that cretin O'Reilly.

B Mac 8:44 AM  

I've been trying to think of an intelligent way to phrase my thoughts on the subject. I can't. The whole thing just bugs me too much, and I don't see an easy solution.

I have to obverve a good amount of state-level news coverage for my job. But I don't watch/listen to much national commentary anymore. I tend to cull whatever info I can get from cnn.com, NPR, or wherever (yes, including Faux News...). But I avoid the Chris Matthews/Hardball/Crossfire style shows.

Personally, I like the Daily Show. It doesn't have much news value, and I understand that. But Jon Stewart is able to put words to my frustrations. I offer Exhibit A:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsHQCSxkdrI

Colin 8:53 AM  

I hear ya B Mac! Stewart really identifies with the issues that get under my skin!

By the way, did you catch Colbert's bid for the Presidency?

B Mac 9:29 AM  

I did not, but I heard about it a few minutes ago.

This could give some nice fodder for the Daily Show's "Indecision 2008" / "Clusterf*ck to the White House"

steves 4:45 PM  

I am not a big fan of Stewart, though he can be really good at times. I love his interviews. Colbert...I don't see the appeal. Dennis Miller can be pretty good, but I'd have to say there aren't a whole lot of good comedians that can do politics really well.

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