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Is the MSM to blame for blocking good news from the wars?

By Michael Fumento

I personally have repeatedly scored the MSM for wanting to write about nothing but The Car Bomb of the Day and ignoring hearts-and-minds projects. Now I realize that while the MSM still deserve scorn, perhaps things aren't quite as black and white as I thought. In preparing my article on my recent embed that will be appearing in next week's Weekly Standard I sought to get information on such projects in the Zabul Region of Afghanistan directly from the Provincial Reconstruction Team or PRT. Zabul's PRT is run by the Air Force. Here's what transpired:

Mike,

Can you send me a few questions and the angle you're leaning toward for your story? From there, I can set up an interview with the PRT commander or our lead civil affairs person. Thanks!

Bob

Capt. Bob Everdeen
Commander's Exec
PRT Qalat, Afghanistan

I did so, then said the responses could be by e-mail or phone, whichever was easiest for them. I calculated it would take 20 minutes or less for them to provide a response by either means. Days went by. Now here's the rest of the correspondence:

Bob,

I've learned what I can about PRT Zabul from the Internet, but it would be a lot better to get the highlights from your people. That said, with or without I've got to turn this piece in tomorrow.

Best,
Mike

Mike,

Sorry about the delayed response; unfortunately, I will not be able to get you information this time. Thank you.

Bob

Dear Cpt. Everdeen:

So much for military complaints that the media only focus on explosions and
killings while ignoring hearts and minds projects. It appears the mainstream
media aren't as blameworthy in this regard as I thought. Unconventional wars
are won or lost as much in the media as on the battlefield; it's unfortunate
that the Air Force apparently doesn't realize that. As someone who sees
this war as something to be won, I will be writing about this.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

And so I have.

May 30, 2007 06:53 PM  ·  Afghanistan