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Ethics and morality training for the media?

By Randall H. Nunn
web posted June 5, 2006

In response to the media publicity concerning the investigation of civilian deaths in Haditha, Iraq, United States military commanders have ordered "ethics training" for U.S. combat troops. The training would highlight "the importance of adhering to legal, moral and ethical standards on the battlefield." Although we don't yet know what the facts are, the mainstream media has seized this story and is using it, to the great glee of the far left in this country, to indict the entire U.S. war effort in Iraq. While our combat troops undergo this ethics training (which is already a standard part of their training), it might be a good idea if the mainstream media put its journalists and executives through "ethics training" to highlight the importance of adhering to legal, moral and ethical standards in their reporting, writing and broadcasting.

It is obvious by now to most Americans that the bulk of the mainstream media is quite far to the left politically and is hostile to the Bush administration and traditional American values. This hostility permeates everything the mainstream media reports and does, including its decisions as to how to "position" a story or write headlines so as to further the leftist agenda. The media bias is clear beyond dispute, yet the media cynically continues the propaganda campaign in its never-ending quest
to force its audience to accept the views of the media elites.

In response to the mainstream media's war on American culture and values, many Americans have turned to talk radio, the Internet and FOX News, with the result that network audience share is declining and mainstream media papers are losing subscribers. Nevertheless, the media's elites remember how a minority was able to influence the course of the Vietnam War and they bank on their ability to do the same thing again and grind down American support for the war in Iraq with their incessant propaganda.

The mainstream media thinks that the Haditha incident is the tool it can use to demonstrate that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is wrong and that a pull-out is the only reasonable response. Senator Barbara Boxer has already joined the chorus, saying that U.S. troops should be out of Iraq within 6 months. Senator Boxer said that if we don't get out of Iraq now, "we're looking at another Vietnam." Senator Boxer and others like her, in concert with the mainstream media, think they can "create"
public opinion on this issue by their steady stream of negative comments and damning portrayals of the U.S. military in Iraq.

Fortunately, many Americans have "caught on" to the mainstream media's agenda and its techniques and are not as quickly and easily swayed as in years past. The alternative media outlets are weakening the opinion molding power of the mainstream media little by little. The higher the audience share of talk radio, FOX News and the Internet sites, the stronger will be
America's resolve to complete the job in Iraq—not just to secure freedom for the Iraqi people but more importantly for the security of the United States. The key will be whether our elected officials have the courage to ignore the mainstream media.

So let's have some seminars and training for the media where they can once again learn that American citizens are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Where they can learn that it is sometimes necessary to fight wars and that American interests have been well-protected over the years by those willing to face our enemies on a battlefield. Where they can learn that there is a difference between fact and opinion and that "shaping" the facts to fit an agenda is improper unless clearly labeled as
commentary. Where they can learn that the press can be free and independent and still be obliged to be truthful and fair in its reporting. And where they can learn that support for their country, freedom and personal liberty is not diametrically opposed to membership in the media. Adherence to legal, moral and ethical standards ought to be far easier for those ensconced in the offices of the mainstream media than for a soldier on the battlefield. Yet today the soldier on the battlefield has my
respect in far greater measure than those souls in the mainstream media who try to feed me a daily dose of propaganda.

Randall H. Nunn is a Staff Writer for The New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. Columns by this author can be read regularly on TheRealityCheck.org.

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