Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Someone's not telling the whole story,

but it's not the dreaded Mainstream Media

In a post headlined, "Someone in the MSM to admire," Jessica McBride tells of a man from Frederic, Wisconsin who is on his way to report the "good news" from Iraq:
"Wayne Anderson of Frederic, Wisconsin will be traveling to Iraq today, to witness and then report - firsthand - the good things that are happening in Iraq. He doesn’t have any previous military experience. He’s a former “retired construction contractor, budding vintner and novice beekeeper ” who has his own weekly newspaper in Frederic. He’s also paying for the entire trip himself.

“I have a sense that more is happening in Iraq than bombs exploding. More is happening than death and destruction,” he said. “It’s a weak and fledgling democracy, but by God, it is a democracy. They vote, by God. So I know that there are good, lasting things that are happening in Iraq.”

Anderson will embed with the Army in Iraq and then send back his stories to a handful of area papers, for free, at a time when public support for the war is flagging. He couldn’t get any papers to sponsor him - they were afraid they’d have to pay a ransom if he’s abducted, Anderson said - so he’ll be working freelance. There is no guarantee his dispatches will appear in print back home. He’s also lined up some live calls from the war zone with the Tim McNeil show on Mix 105, a northwest Wisconsin FM
Jessica, while pleased at his willingness to go, is troubled:
It bothers me, though, that no paper would "sponsor him", and no one is willing to print his reports (although I'm unclear why he can't just print his reports himself since he owns a weekly newspaper). But newspapers will print the blathering of politicians who are safely ensconced back at home?
Perhaps the reason could be that this guy is does not own a weekly newspaper of his own, and isn't even really a reporter.

As usual, she hasn't gone to the source.

She cites a blog called Pheistyblog, which is the source for her material.

But the story originated in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, before Pheistyblog got its hands on it. Here's what the actual Mainstream Media newpaper reported:
Anderson, a former reporter who now writes a right-leaning column for a weekly newspaper based in Frederic, says he never sees the "good news" stories on the nightly news.

So he decided one morning a few months ago to become a war correspondent...

It's a far different assignment from his start answering phones at the Fort Worth Star Telegram, he said. His other reporting jobs have included stints at the Rocky Mountain News and Ring Magazine, a boxing periodical.

In the 1990s, Anderson left journalism for construction work in Los Angeles and was able to retire by his 50s after about 10 years of working as a contractor...

In a column that ran last week in the Inter-County Leader, Anderson explained his motivations for going to Iraq:

"I, like you, see the bombs exploding on the nightly news. I know it happens. The media would not lie. It's just I suspect they are not telling the whole truth. Certainly, there is more to this Iraq story than roadside IEDs detonating? I suspect building schools and hospitals is not as newsworthy as blowing them up. But the public should know about both, which is the whole truth. (I think I remember reading about that in journalism school.)"
And then there's this comment, from a veteran war correspondent, which never made it into either McBride's blog or her source's post:
Sig Christenson, co-founder of Military Reporters and Editors and who is the military reporter at the San Antonio Express-News, said Anderson is going to learn quickly the real story about Iraq. He should know: Christenson returned from his fifth wartime trip to Iraq in April.

"There isn't that much good news in Iraq. It's a misconception driven largely by supporters of President Bush who want this war to be a good war. It's a damn mess," Christenson said.

About the only thing that is good in Iraq is the U.S. soldier, the San Antonio reporter said.

"Our troops are highly competent, very motivated, extraordinarily brave," he said. "They are the best that this country has. And that is why it's still worth it to go out there and report on this war. "

Christenson bristles at the idea that war correspondents aren't covering the "whole" story.

"I've been told by a State Department official that rebuilding Iraq is like rebuilding a house that is on fire while people are shooting at you," he said. "The media has done very good work there, at extraordinary risk."
Including that, as the newspaper did, is called telling both sides of the story. Sometimes it's known as balance.

That's some of what Anderson said he remembers from journalism school. McBride teaches journalism, but seems to have forgotten that lesson.

UPDATE: Illusory Tenant chimes in:

For a more substantive piece by Mr. Anderson, see Polk and Burnett County bees are inspected, where, in closing, Anderson offers "For more information on local beekeeping, call 715-327-5525," which turns out to be his own home telephone number.

This is exactly the sort of shenanigan that regularly earns well deserved "Darts" from the Columbia Journalism Review, but to McBride, Anderson is "someone in the MSM to admire"(apparently she normally has little to no admiration for the "mainstream media").

Now Mr. Wayne Anderson may merit some admiration on account of his having been personally selected by God to embed himself with the U.S. Army in Iraq, but I don't think he quite qualifies as a member of the mainstream media.


  1. Priceless.

    Here's a sample of Anderson's "reporting":

    "It's exciting to have a new way to bring the Lord’s word," said Pastor Jay Ticknor. He said all are welcome to enjoy Noah's Ark and come for Sunday coffee from 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and join the congregation afterwards for worship at 11 a.m.

    All of the members of Bethany Lutheran Church wish to thank the family of Roger Sjolander for the gracious gift of land where Noah’s Ark now rests.

    For more information about the new, or old, Noah’s Ark and Bethany Lutheran Church of Grantsburg call: 715-463-5746 or e-mail: blchurch@grantsburgtelcom.net.


    Hard hitting stuff!

  2. Papers don't "sponsor" reporters, though she does give the lie that there is not a distinct partisan end to this weird trip. (Is there any doubt that the novice will find endless rainbows and servile Iraqis?) How can someone formerly be a "retired construction contractor?" Don't she and her ilk frequently intone about the rightness of the war? Does UWM, by employing her, have any credibility left?

  3. The mainstream St. Paul media reports the facts, and the truth never is to be dreaded.

    I dread those who don't report facts, not even from their own sources. It's only all the news that's fit to twist to fit anything but the facts.

  4. Thanks for this one! I had a little fun with it myself.

  5. ConservativeteenJune 8, 2007 at 6:58 PM

    Anyone who has the nerve to say that the mainstream media reports facts is nothing short of mentaly ill, or uninformed.

  6. Conservativeteen . . . oh, just go away. You really do not get it here.