Local Media Shy Away From Critical Reporting On Military

Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. James A. Sauter

Why is it so difficult for us to deal with issues regarding the military? I think it’s in large part because we have so little practice, a result of the news media treating the military as a “sacred cow” and generally exempt from critical local reporting. I think this is unhealthy for all of us.

Local news reporting on the military is typically limited to coverage of “patriotic” events and holidays, stories on the Defense Department’s economic contributions, change of command ceremonies, emotional “going to war” departures and homecomings, and various repeats of the “service men and women as heroes” theme. All those things might be true, but they are far from the whole story, or even the most important part of the story.

We don’t often get real reporting about military institutions and policies, the kind of reporting that uncovers uncomfortable facts and seeks accountability and transparency. Even Stars and Stripes, the military’s own independent news service, generates harder news than our local media.

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