Saturday, December 17, 2005

No excuse for ignoring heroism

Fred Barnes writes A War Without Heroes? Only if you're reading the mainstream media.
The New York Times took an odd approach to the Paul Ray Smith case. The nearer the awarding of the Medal of Honor came, the less coverage the Smith case got. It was as if the Times didn't want President Bush to get any credit for honoring Smith.

The day after the White House event, the Times put a picture of Smith on page A16 with a brief caption. True, the Times had run two earlier stories about Smith, one in 2003, the other earlier this year. The first was headlined: "The Struggle for Iraq: Casualties; Medals for His Valor, Ashes for His Wife." The second said Smith would get the Medal of Honor.

The back-page treatment of the award ceremony infuriated the White House. "We keep hearing how the people opposed to the war are not against the troops but only against the president," an official said. "Man wins the highest medal this nation offers--and you know how rare that is--and the Times does not think that is worth a full story and on page one. The Medal of Honor is not about the president. It is about the troops."

The media have no excuse for ignoring heroism. "There's no dearth of opportunity there," says Di Rita. In Iraq and Afghanistan, American Marines alone have been awarded 8 Navy Crosses, 35 Silver Stars, 617 Bronze Stars with "V," 1,126 Bronze Stars, and 5,197 Purple Hearts.

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