March 26, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Round-the-Clock Regurgitation

Some of you may wonder why I've been so silent about the war in Iraq since it started a week ago, considering how much I had to say about it before it began. While I have been following events as much as everyone else, I find myself reluctant to comment, since the news media have said so much (and yet so little) themselves. I am loathe to add my voice to the throng that has milked every story and sensationalized every occurrence to the point that the slightest wounding seems like a massacre. Before this all started, I considered myself a certified news junkie. Now, I turn on the TV (or log on to the news sites) just long enough to get a quick update.

I watched the last Gulf War from a different perspective—specifically, from the Combat Information Center of an aircraft carrier—so I don't know if this 24/7 regurgitation of news is the new standard for war coverage. The reporting of 9/11 would lead me to believe so. I don't call these cable TV news anchors journalists; they more closely resemble mother birds feeding their young, vomiting up the same half-digested gristle over and over again.

The American people need to accept less information. Events in wartime (with some exceptions, of course) do not happen on an instantaneous, round-the-clock basis. We don't need continuous coverage; in fact, we need just the opposite. Constant reporting of the same events from every conceivable angle ends up blowing them out of proportion. When I participated directly in war, with a Secret security clearance and a need-to-know, I still passed much of the time uninformed. Events unfold as they unfold; information should come out as facts are verified. Speculation breeds rumors and confusion. Amongst sailors on a ship during wartime—the "uniformed uninformed," one might call them—such speculation is to be expected. From an official news source, with ostensible journalistic integrity, it should be frowned upon. Instead, it is espoused, encouraged, embraced.

This may be a biased rant against a ratings-hungry media, but I'd be surprised if many people didn't share my position. Puffed-out suits like Aaron Brown and Shepard Smith are no more qualified to report on the war than my neighbor Bob. Until we win the war, I'll be going back to the good ol' newspaper to get my news. Since it only comes out once a day, it doesn't have to exaggerate (or even create) the news in order to fill time or win ratings. It only reports the news—which, after all, is what reporters are supposed to do.


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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3/25: Piece of the Puzzle
3/24: Echoes in Eternity
3/23: Booing for Columbine
3/22: Not Recommending Diving
3/21: Works in Progress
3/20: Three Rings of Shock & Awe
3/19: Paris—A Beautiful Blur
3/18: Ignorant Idiot Man
3/17: The Pirate Queen
3/16: To War or Not to War
3/15: So Long, Seau
3/14: Telemarketing Pays
3/13: Free, For Now
3/12: Chicken Little Gets Respect
3/11: Axis of Evil
3/10: Writing Kept Me From Writing
3/9: King Arthur
3/8: The Women are Smarter
3/7: Salt on Old Wounds
3/6: 3/3/03, 3:33 p.m.
3/5: Beer Day
3/4: Pulling the Trigger
3/3: Make 'Em Laugh
3/2: Whither Iraq?
3/1: Strickland Cellars
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