“Flashbang” Reporting

June 15th, 2006 by xformed

Unpaid Ad (for my own post): While you’re here: Captain B, of the USMC! (OOOORAH!) has a great idea….get a full page ad in a major newspaper for the 4th of July, supporting the troops. Details here!

I struggled last night to determine a way you label the type of information we now deal with on a more and more frequent basis. The “news” items, in the MSM and in more informal forums such as the ‘net, suddenly appear. The little flags in the back of your brain are rasied…something stinks about it, and then the Army of Davids comes out of the woodwork to discredit/disprove the presented “story.”

Examples (because I’m trying to discuss concepts here, at least a few examples are needed to connect the dots):

  • Dan Rather’s Texas Air National Guard memo in fall 2004 (C’mon…Word XP in the early 70s?)
  • Murder charges leveled at 1st Lt Ilario Pantano, USMC
  • The roving bands of murderers in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
  • The Duke Lacrosse Team rape case (allegations by the first women are not being supported by the original statements by the second woman to the police that nothing happened and the credit card and phone records for one of the suspects)
  • Everyone’s very special friend, Jesse McBeth, the Special Forces Ranger (who served a total of a few days in the Army before being discharged)
  • The supposed Israeli shelling of Palestinian families on the beach (Palestinian explosives laid to deter landings on the beach?)
  • The faked massacre by US Army troops where MSM outlets used a photo of a group of civilians executed by Islamic terrorists, captioned as thought the Army had sent or had allowed the troops to do that.
  • A Variant form, part truth, part lies, but plenty enought to poison the well: The Haji Girl song. It’s really about terrorists killing their own family in an effort to kill US troops, not about US troops indiscriminately killing innocent Arabs

Common thread: Stories, quickly “tossed” at the public in a shrill manner, or with highly energized words. Some have been proven to have been hoaxes, others are looking very much like they will meet the same end….but…not before they are widely circulated around the globe. They are, much like a flashbang grenade, designed to take over your senses to thoroughly and long enough that you do not see the others slipping into position to secure you, hence the title of the post.

In thinking this through, I realized that the blogging community, so powerful in bringing reality to the table in many of these cases, can only react to such a forcible attack on the truth. In the meantime, the horses have left the barn. we are doing a great job of telling how the horses got loose, and that we surveyed the area, assessed the situation and determined, with cold and unflapable logic, that the gate needed closing and we have done that. The good news: No more horses will get loose. On the other side of the issue, we’d have to become omnicient in order to have posts up in advance, and imbedded electronics just aren’t that capable yet.

Impact statement of such tactics:
In the case of the proven to be a fake Army Special Forces Ranger, I wondered how the words of Jesse McBeth, dicussing how they were told to massacre innocent men, women and children were echoed in the days leter major release of the Haditah story about a week ago. I dislike conspiracy theories, but could his video taped interview have been purposely “placed” to add credibility to the soon to some re-reporting of an indiscriminate rampage by American troops? You know, just another little weight on the scale.

Once it hit the street, particularly on YouTube, you can bet those who already believed this type of behavior was happening, and those who never thought about it, but could call it logical when asked, got their hands on the files of the interview, and then forwarded them on to other like minded people and organizations. Same with the Rather TXANG memo. The blogosphere jumped up, within an hour (for the TXANG memo) and called the niche experts to arms, yet the enemy was already racing from the area, the false message, delivered from “credible sources,” was planted. Like the storeis of the anarchy in New Orleans, and the absense of any governmental forces, they placed a perception, taken as truth even now half a year later, in the minds of those who have come to demand instant delivery of everything in society. Our need for instant gratification has driven the methodolgy for the delivery systems (CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc). This format is now the accepted style, so we extrapolate that all reported is correct, we quickly, feeling the need to be “included” in all discussions on all topics, make sweeping judgments, more often than not devoid of any personal understanding and there you have it: “I BELIEVE!”

Taking the deliverer to task is still necessary, but the masses have moved on beyond the Da Vinci Code contreversies, and now are worried about reacting to tropical storms as though they were Category 5 hurricanes, while a state governor declares he’d rather be overly prepared then not doing enough. He, too, is driven by not being “Nagined” an losing his political stature, at the expense of cajoling many millions to leave home, but not before they empty the grocery stores shelves and gas station’s tanks, to then have to use cold hard cash for hotels, camp ground, and the stuff you buy when you get to your friend/relative’s house on high ground, to make amends for your intrusion.

That’s it:

Background Noise: SMASH! “BANG!”
You: “I CAN”T SEE! I CAN”T SEE!” (said loudly over the ringing in the ears)
Reporter/Newscaster: “Don’t worry! We’re here from the MSM to tell you what’s happening while you are temporarily blinded!”
R/N: “OH, yes…I know you don’t want to believe it, but…Jesse McBeth said he did it with the Special Forces Rangers, as ordered by his superiors!”
Y: “Sounds fishy to me.”
R/N: “Nope, it’s true. Jack Murtha (who was highly decorated in Vietnam and don’t you dare question him on his patriotism) Said they are MURDERERS! and he was one of them once.”
Uncle Jimbo/Matt/Smash/Bill Roggio/Steve Shippert: “Hey! That R/N is full of crap and besides, we need to let the system run it’s course before we start yelling about firing squads.”
R/N: “Don’t listen to those whining bloggers. They just wish they got our salaries, so they’ll try to make us out as liars.”

I think you can extend and revise without objection where that type of discussion has gone in actual cases.

Some amount of mental energy will go into this this weekend, trying to see what the counter may be. I think a good start will be the full page ad in a major newpaper on July 4th. Putting forth the good done, and real “support the troops” messages will begin to push back, but I’m sure there’s more that can be done.

Comments anyone? (is this mic on?)

Welcome LGF Lizards….You may fire when ready (comments are open).

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 15th, 2006 at 4:14 pm and is filed under Blogging, Geo-Political, Political. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 responses about ““Flashbang” Reporting”

  1. Jason Lomberg said:

    Ah, but you forget. The National Guard Memos were “fake but accurate” (this mind-boggingly stupid statement will forever haunt Dan Rather’s career).

    As far as Jesse MacBeth, I don’t think it was purposely set up in anticipation of the Haditha incident, as much as it was part of an ongoing effort by anti-war types to discredit our military, our commander in chief, and ultimately to reduce support for the war. I’m sure MacBeth’s pathetic diatribe is still believed in some quarters (no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, some conspiracy nut can always claim “The government covered up his service record”), and for some other more sane individuals, who simply haven’t read where MacBeth was outed as a fake, they could use his testimony as proof that Haditha isn’t outside the ordinary.

    It’s no wonder I don’t watch TV news. Every network (even Fox News) has gotten to the point where each competes for the flashiest, sexiest headlines. It’s all about grabbing your attention, not delivering real news. These days, reporters are more likely to create news than report it. Memo to all the folks reading cue cards on news TV: you’re on TV by virtue of your good looks, and ability to sound important as you read something that somebody else wrote. This doesn’t make you a poly sci expert.

  2. xformed said:


    Good additions…and I have gone just about off the diet of any MSM stuff. Sunday’s paper is for Dilbert, Pearls Before Swine and the ads from stores with computer equipment on sale…Commerical TV is to give jobs to the people who work the electronics to send the stuff…and performs little other function besides keeping the unemployment rate down….

    Keep thinking…you’re going places….

  3. Major Mike said:

    Great post…the hit and run tactics of the irresponsible and unrestrained media, need to be brought to the front. These people are running the plays that the enemy expects…they know this, and yet continue to do so…way to call them so clearly on it. MM

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