Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Problem With Media Coverage Of DADT

If the media took the time to properly cover America's flawed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, the bigots (like John McCain) who say it's working just fine would be exposed for the homophobes they are.

Unfortunately, we get articles like today's useless piece from the AP. Sadly, this is the version that will make it into countless papers.

Rather than reprint the entire article (you can link to it here), let me just explain what makes the reporting so offensive.

First, the global model.

I have written about this in the past, but most Americans have no idea that the U.S., along with Turkey, are the ONLY 2 NATO countries that do not allow gays to openly serve. If outlets that reported on lifting the ban as controversial actually took the time to report that simple fact, it would make a huge difference.

Reading from the AP story:

"Lifting the ban poses some emotional questions that go to the heart of the military's command structure and the trust relationships within military units. Among them: Will U.S. troops and leaders tolerate openly gay members in their midst? And if they don't, what should the Pentagon do about it?
That question becomes absurd if the article noted that in all the other countries where gays serve openly (like Israel, for example), gays were readily accepted without any negative results.

Is someone suggesting that American men are too fragile to deal with this, unlike the military of our allies? It would seem so.

Now consider this nugget:

While his promise is being hailed as a good start by gay rights' activists, Obama is finding resistance in several corners. Some high-ranking military officers are reluctant to embrace the change while the forces are stretched thin at a time of two wars.
America has booted a number of gay arabic translators at a time when there were precious few of these specialists to begin with. Did this not compromise our troops in time of war?

And, if over 10,000 gays have already been booted (as the article acknowledges) and many more won't enlist because of the insult of DADT, wouldn't it make sense to end this discriminatory policy BECAUSE we are stretched thin and do not have the manpower we need to occupy 2 countries?

The policy, as it currently stands, dehumanizes gays and asks us to lie, if we want to serve our country.

Finally, nowhere does this article state that polling shows the repeal of DADT to have majority support from all quarters, including conservatives. If it did take the time to report this fact, it would defeat the agenda of the reporter, who has a desire to make the move to repeal seem daring and controversial.

It would be nice if reporters were a bit more honest covering the story, rather than propping up phony arguments and leaving out important facts.

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