Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fair and Balanced

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The more that I read the Stars and Stripes, the better I like it.  That is a good thing, because when it comes to American newspapers printed on real paper, the S&S  is the only game in town - in my town, at least.

I was expecting this daily newspaper to be a staid and stodgy affair with a strong conservative bent.  But instead of some military announcement sheet with heavy censorship, I encountered a professional publication that is far more "fair and balanced" than the loud "news" outlet that claims that appellation.

Yes, many stories have a military focus because the overseas U.S. military population makes up a considerable portion of the newspaper's readership.  But today's military is young, and those young people have young interests and young ideas - and they are far more open-minded about many things than their grandparents, or even their parents were.

Today's edition features an editorial by Mary Tillman (Pat's mother) in which she lambastes retired general Stanley McChrystal for his role in the cover-up of the circumstances surrounding Pat's death.  She had read the article in Rolling Stone that resulted in McChrystal being fired and surmised that the article, "The Runaway General," by journalist Michael Hastings describes "exactly the arrogant individual I believed him (McChrystal) to be."

Ms. Tillman's editorial, taken originally from The Los Angeles Times, was titled "Tillman's mom on McChrystal:  I told you so." 

And did she ever!  Mary Tillman's book, Boots on the Ground by Dusk:  Searching for Answers in the Death of Pat Tillman, is a moving account by a bereaved parent that will bring the hardest of souls to tears.  In it she singles out General McChrystal for scrutiny.  She and her ex-husband, Pat's father, went on to implore Congress and the President to further scrutinize McChrystal before promoting him to head the war effort in Afghanistan.   Unfortunately for President Obama, he made the appointment anyway.

Now the President has corrected that mistake, but the war drags on.  And I am left with the growing certainty that no matter how things play out in Afghanistan, the Stars and Stripes will endeavor to give an honest assessment of what is happening there. 

If only Fox News possessed that type of integrity, or any integrity for that matter!

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