[January 12, 2015] A minor theme here in this blog has been the biased reporting of the various news media. When it occurs, the bias often distorts reporting on our military and police forces and as such is deep rooted, contrary to cultural norms, and purposeful. It also reflects poorly on our nation’s senior leaders because they sometimes fail to publically set the record straight.
Media misrepresenting our military and police has the making of media bias 101. The most basic form reporting on what our forces do to protect the nation is largely ignored. The root cause is mistrust and suspicion – on both sides. I’m told the reason our military and police leadership do not respond to media bias and inaccuracies is to prevent the perception of bias on their part.
I will add another reason. Responding to the bias usually does not work. Yet it remains the personal responsibility of all senior leaders, nonetheless, to confront the slanting of the news and ensure the truth prevails, especially when it distorts the good works of our military and police.
This nation’s citizenry – I believe we will discover the same elsewhere – judge our military and police as professional and trustworthy. The same cannot be said of some news media. In the United States we support those who protect our homes and our freedoms. These are the basic beliefs of the average citizen. When the media reports against them, our gut reaction is not to believe the media.
Sadly, the bias is done purposefully; it is no accident. I’m aware of several military-initiated meetings with the media to attempt to bridge the trust gap between them. While there was constructive dialog there was little long-term success. This can be traced back to the unwillingness of the media to trust the military and police. More recent examples can be found in the shooting of two black men by police, one in Missouri and one in New York City.
Those senior leaders who show that they understand the need to support the military and police are the most successful leaders. Whether a local town mayor or the most senior leader in the nation, citizens expect much and deserve only those who support their protectors.
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