05 Dec 2005

Journalism’s Moral Collapse


Ralph Peters writes:

Patriotism? Forget it.

After Watergate, patriotism became an embarrassment among journalists. They’re “citizens of the world.” CNN International has grown so casually anti-American that it rivals the BBC, while much of big media here at home gives terrorist atrocities a pass, while celebrating the slightest errors of our troops with front-page headlines.

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Andrew Hamilton

I’ve sometimes wondered how the course of World War II would have turned out if the current American new media had been loose in April 1944, when German torpedo boats sank LSTs practicing for the Normandy landing off Slapton Sands in
Britain, in an area closely resembling the topography of Utah beach in Normandy. In the words of the distinguished military historian Charles B. MacDonald, “When the waters of the English Channel at last ceased to wash bloated bodies ashore, the toll of the dead and missing stood at 198 sailors and 551 soldiers, a total of 749, the most costly training incident involving U.S. forces during World War II.” MacDonald notes the great concern that German forces might have captured one or more of the ten officers aboard with detailed knowledge of the Normandy landing plans. (All drowned.)

An enterprising reporter nosing about the story might well have found some angry soul willing, in exchange for anonymity, to disclose the purpose of the training incident and the link to plas for invading Normandy.

Although allied headquarters announced the incident after the invasion (it was published in Stars and Stripes in July 1944, according to MacDonald,)the Slapton Sands tragedy (as well as the later loss of 800 American lives when a Belgian ship sank off Cherbourg in December 1944, received little attention until the 1980s when it became “evidence” of official “coiverup” in revisionist news stories. MacDonald cites the case of a three-part report on WJLA, the Washington D.C. ABC news affiliate, where
“the news staff pursued its accusations of cover-up even after being informed by the Army’s Public Affairs Office well before the first program aired about the various publications including the official histories that had told of the tragedy.”


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