Thursday, 24 May 2012

PN Guardian disagrees with my view on US Marines

This item was published in my latest Wheelers Corner

Last Thursday the Manawatu Guardian ran a front page that made me wonder if there is such a thing as editorial control. A baby faced US Marine Lt. Nishan Campbell was interviewed by Alecia Bailey. It was a shocking testimony to the idiotic behaviour of US military and was certainly not a model I’d like my grandchildren to follow. Statements like:
We are prepared to die with honour”, shows clearly why the US needs continuing wars to satisfy its brain-washed junior officers. Campbell also stated …We want nothing more than to go to a combat zone”…beat that for stupidity, it might be OK to open ones mouth and let the wind blow ones tongue about, with what sounds like a racist red-neck bunch of KKK Republicans in some backwater state in the US. But hey this is NZ do we have to have this crap dished up in our local paper. It’s as if Rupert Murdoch or FOX news is running our local community paper. I hope that Lt. Campbell doesn’t get his wish to die with honour in the Middle East or South America, South Vietnam or Grenada or any of the dozens of countries where they have killed thousands of innocent citizens in the name of freedom and keeping the American military employed. If Lt. Campbell wants to die with honour he should resign his commission. The whole item was nothing more than propaganda.

This reaction was the sent by the senior reporter at the PN guardian:
Dear Mr Wheeler,
I am saddened by your response to the Guardian's article, "Date with a Devil Dog".
We are a community newspaper in an area where the Defence Force has a strong presence. The billeting of US Marines here was a good opportunity for us to let locals know a bit more about them. By presenting the interview with Lt Campbell, we did just that, allowing readers to form opinions based on what they read.
I am concerned that you saw fit to characterise Lt Campbell in such a derogatory fashion. Your assertions are in no way supported by what he revealed in the article, and seem coloured by your own pre-conceived views.
Mentioning the acts of which you accuse the Marines was outside the scope of the article, and would in fact have introduced bias against them.
You also imply that the statements of Lt Campbell, because you find them objectionable, in turn degrade the quality of the article. This reveals a poor grasp of not only how reporting works, but also basic logic.
I take further issue with your comparisons between the Guardian and Fox News, which are, to put it mildly, hyperbolic. Again, you seem to be conflating Lt Campbell's outlook with that of the article. If you dislike an article's subject, it does not follow that the article itself is of a poor reporting standard, and to imply otherwise insults Miss Bailey's integrity and my own.
You are absolutely entitled to your view of the US Marines. However, to label the article "propaganda" because we did not deign to support this view is both inaccurate and intellectually dishonest.
A more appropriate response to the article would have been to discuss these issues in a letter to the editor, which I would have been more than happy to publish - indeed, this week's issue contains just such a letter. I am disappointed that you instead chose to make your overwrought and fallacious statements in your newsletter, where our readership cannot respond.
Yours sincerely,
Rob Mildon, Guardian Senior Reporter

I have asked the Rob Milton to allow me to publish his letter in the next issue of Wheeler's Corner...I await his reply.


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