September 30, 2004


“What they did was very stupid,” Halberstam said. “But they have been heading in that direction for a long time. I’ve always been critical of this whole business of star journalism, where you have a big anchor coming on air and acting as a prosecutor with someone else’s reporting. In many instances over the years on that program the reports have been lightly or poorly sourced and the reporting suffers as a result. Dan Rather right now is the principal anchor of the Evening News, but he is also the program’s main reporter. Then he’s the anchor of 48 Hours. On top of that he’s the star of 60 Minutes II. That’s just too much for one person and it leads to the kind of sloppiness in their reporting that just happened.

“In general, the last couple of years have not been very good ones for the media,” Halberstam added. “There has been too much corporate control, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the broadcast networks eventually got out of the news business. They’ve been moving to get out of it for years anyway.”

Interesting. It’s occurred to me that Halberstam’s book, The Reckoning, about the decline of the American automobile industry, sheds a bit of light on what’s going on with Big Journalism now. (Via Bill Hobbs, who has further thoughts.)

UPDATE: Some thoughts on the draft from a serviceman in Iraq.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The New York Post: “Dan does it again.”

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader sends me a copy of this email he sent to the anti-draft crusaders interviewed by Rather:

Our 22 year old son is a US Marine, SpOps. His Btn just returned from the al Anbar region of Iraq. They have the unfortunate distinction of having taken the most casualties of any Coalition unit in Iraq (33 KIA 200+ WIA, sent home). However, they – in the proud tradition of US Marines, and specifically the 7th Marine Regiment – killed over 3,000 of the enemy bringing peace to the region o which they were assigned. They took on an area where there was murderous errorist activity on a daily basis and today, it’s as safe as most of Philly.

I can guarantee you, because I had this conversation with Josh and with his comrades-in-arms, they DO NOT WANT conscripted kids with them. At home, hey are the finest men this country has to offer. Polite, generous and even lightly patriotic. At work they are the worst enemy of people who attack the S. They are committed to what they do. They don’t need whining, snotty children linging to mommy’s apron who they would have to babysit.

So, please contact Rep. Rangel and the other Democrats who put forth this egislation. Tell them to withdraw it – not that it has a snowball’s chance in Baghdad of passing anyway. And please, don’t fear for your sons. My son and his friends, WILLINGLY sleeping in holes in the sand and eating MRE’s will make sure you and your sons can all sleep well in your soft beds after a quiet dinner.

Michael Becker
Phoenix, AZ
very proud father of LCpl Josh. The best man we know…

Nice email.

MORE: Another:

I am writing in furtherance of the comments made by Michael Becker, father of the Marine who just returned from Iraq.

My son, Michael, is a 22 Marine Corporal. On 9/11 he was a sophomore in college. We live in Northern NJ, about 15 miles from ground zero. Michael called home and said that he had to do something about 9/11, so he left college and joined the Marines.

I am an attorney and my wife is a teacher. Our oldest son is a graduate of New York University Law School and an associate at a major NYC law firm. Michael was doing fine in college and did not ‘have to join the Marines”. He joined as a calling.

Michael has been in the Corp. for for almost 3 years and has not yet had an assignment overseas. That is about to change. He is presently assigned to the 15th MEU in Camp Pendelton. They will be deployed sometime on or before December 6th. We do not know where they are going, but we expect that Iraq is part of the plan.

Michael and all of his Marine buddies can’t wait to go. That is why they signed up. In fact, someone is his company made a mistake. They entire company was threatened that if mistakes continued, there would be a punishment. That
punishment was that they would not go to Iraq. That is correct, if they mess up, they will not go to Iraq. This is very upsetting to them.

The Marines do not want conscripts. Every one of these guys or gals will have his (or her) life on the line depending on the Marines around them. They do not want people who have to be forced to be there. Every one of them is prepared to give their all for the other Marines, their family and their country. They do not need anyone there who does not feel the same way.

People who do not know military families just don’t understand. Maybe some day they will finally realize how much we all owe to LCpl Josh Becker, my son Cpl Michael Wishnia, and thousand of Marines and soldiers.

Bernard Wishnia
Livingston, NJ

Another interesting email.

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