Media reporting & Opinion

The Crucible: How the Iraq disaster is making the U.S. Army stronger. Phillip Carter is a very smart guy, who knows his stuff.

This is what I like about the 'net, and hate about the mass media. The media see the analysis and opinion as the "value add", which is horse-hockey unless you're talking about the work of the smart, experienced and knowledgeable military correspondents working for America's biggest newspapers, of which I estimate there are less than ten in total. What the media has and that their competition (armchair analysts) don't have is boots on the ground.

I don't care what the BBC correspondent thinks about Bremer. There are people (like Carter) that are 10 times smarter and 10 times more knowlegeable, 100 times more honest about where they stand on the issues - there's no such thing as an unbiased position - and 100 times less likely to do things like make stupid mistakes over ranks, confuse the Individual Ready Reserve with a draft, confuse soldiers with marines, all things that people like Jason Van Steenwyk take so much glee in pouncing upon.

More. I'm not objecting to media analysis & opinion. What I object to is the unending confusion between that and actual reporting. Reporting is "Two marines killed in Fallujah", analysis is "Marines at war with local community". One belongs in a news report, one belongs in an analysis. There is obviously a very thin line between the two, but very few people make the effort to find it.

Stratfor is particularly good at this. So is the Economist, some people at the NYT and the WaPo, and one guy at the LA Times. I've also been told that Le Monde Diplomatique is supposed to be very good.