An Example of the Failure Which Is American Journalism.

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from The Gray Area:

In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial titled, The Monuments Men are Still at It, Melik Kaylan explains that “Americans have good reason to be proud of the World War II officers played by George Clooney and his co-stars in the new movie “The Monuments Men.”Less well known, however, is the fact that Americans in the military and in civilian life are still busy protecting the world’s cultural heritage in war zones. The tradition of monuments men (and now women) isn’t just a thing of the past.

Why“, then he asks, “has such present-day conservation work received so little attention?” He quotes [a]uthor Robert Edsel, whose 2009 book “Monuments Men” inspired the new movie, [who] says that it is a matter of public recognition: “President Eisenhower explicitly tasked American troops with respecting and conserving heritage abroad. It gave them, and the nation, an added sense of pride and purpose…. Our current presidents go into wars without that public avowal. Astonishing. We still do it but nobody knows about it.

While i dont share his cold hearted view of recent American President’s, there is another reason that I believe has more merit, the failure of the American media. The American journalistic community, commonly known these days as the mainstream, or “lamestream”, media, has ‘progressively’ deteriorated in presenting news. Instead news is injected with not so subtle commentary and even edited for ideological advantage. So it is no wonder that admirable acts, which are commonplace for our military, are overlooked by the mainstream media because too many in the media support the opposite ideological message.

As Kaylan points out, “[e]ven as the invasion of Iraq was unfolding, the U.S. military had an extensive “no strike list,” which mapped out large areas of the country that were to be exempt from bombing because of their cultural importance.” Yet, “[i]n the chaos after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad—renowned for its ancient Mesopotamian artifacts—and stole and smashed thousands of objects.” “The U.S. was widely blamed for its failure to protect this cultural patrimony“. Though they eventually recovered over 60% of the looted items.

What about the American military protecting children, building schools and hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan? No, we hear about the random idiot who goes on a shooting spree, or Abu Ghraib. Its not that other good stories cannot be found, it is that the media’s ad-nausea-um coverage makes repeat stories and detailed commentary of the occasional bad episode the image that remains of our efforts in those countries. This media template is consistent going back to Vietnam. We could go into the attacks on stories of heroism as a further example, but lets leave that for another time.

Now, with a new Hollywood blockbuster movie, starring leftist, media darlings like Matt Damon and George Clooney, the media template can again be emphasized using the “last just war” to illustrate how a small group of individuals with a passion to preserve arts and cultural history, separate from the warring, destructive military, can help society.

TIME Magazine, in its February 17th edition, published an article titled George Clooney’s Art of War, (what else would they call it?) focusing on the leftist media template. To their credit, some attention references the overlooked efforts of our military and the correct perspective on the destruction of such artifacts. “Take, for example, the work of Matthew Bogdanos, the classics-trained New York City assistant district attorney and Marine Reserve colonel who in 2003 led a team to retrieve items stolen from the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad. (Bogdanos described his quest in the book “Thieves of Baghdad”.) Like the Monuments Men, he was driven to recover the markers of a civilization threatened by conflict. He asked his supervisor for permission to go after the missing artifacts, estimating that he could do it in three to five days–which was about 10 years ago. Now back in New York, he’s still on the trail of some missing items.” Of course there is no movie about this episode. Too early I presume to correct the media developed perceptions.

In addition, this article recognizes that bad guys like Hitler will have an advantage in these destructive battles. “UNESCO, the U.N. group that oversees the implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, has its eye on the strife in Syria and Mali. Its officers know they cannot save everything–Jan Hladik of UNESCO gives the example of the 2001 destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, by the Taliban, a case in which the parties in conflict were not interested in international conventions …

But why do we have to dig so deep for these positive images and a balanced perspective on the issue. The headline, the message and the lasting images are much more positive than the journalistic reporting. The glass is more than half full! Focus on the half full part as an example of how to really make progress on the fact that the glass is not full enough. Until American journalism returns to its roots and reports the news each of us will have to continue to vary our news sources, in hopes of finding an accurate perspective on any issue.