It’s one of those things you “can’t not know.” The New York Times, Don of the Media Hit Squad, despises the Bush Administration and on a more stealth (but more longstanding) level, loathes the U.S. Armed Forces. The latest ugly example came July 7 in what is more accurately described as a press release for a far Left organization than a news story.
The sole source for John Kifner’s piece, “Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military, Group Says,” is a sloppy document released by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The obnoxious report, the title of which is a gratuitous slap at my beloved Corps, concludes that our fighting forces have devolved, with Pentagon complicity, into a breeding ground for the white supremacist “movement.” Kifner dutifully reports that the reason recruiters have given sloppy kisses to the neo-Nazis is “recruiting shortfalls” brought on by the “unpopularity of the war in Iraq.” For a newspaper that goes out of its way in every story about tax cuts to find the one “Republican” in the country that opposes keeping his hard-earned paycheck, it’s amazing that the Gray Crone could not find one person to dispute the report. So, none of those ubiquitous and infallible “sources” whose contributions begin, “Critics say . . . ” were available? Kifner didn’t even bother to even look. After all, the SPLC report told him all he wanted to know, so he went with it. So did his editor.
Allow me to provide the rest of the story.
An office was established by the Army in 2002 (you know, before the “unpopular” war in Iraq could have caused recruiting ills) to investigate the presence of gang members in the armed forces. Since 2002, the one man cited in the Times story, also the single source for the study, reported that he’d found 320 active duty troops with gang ties. Most of these gang members, according to the investigator, were from “black and Latino” gangs. You wouldn’t know this from the Times article, but a simple web search produces a May 1 Chicago Sun-Times article which provides a bigger picture.
A scandalous July 7 New York Times article uncritically repeated some outrageous claims by a Southern Poverty Law Center “study,” managing to paint the entire US Armed Forces as a training ground for the “White Supremacy” “movement.” The article is no more than a press release for the radical SPLC, as the SPLC “study” is the only source used by the writer. Not that the race or ethnicity of gang members matters to most Americans. If gangs are infiltrating the military, most would say root them out, color is no matter. Race, however, means a lot for central casting at the Times. This story recalls some of the most tragic Clintonian bumbling—insisting that the gravest threat to our nation was to be found in Idaho basements while jihadists attacked the “Paper Tiger” again and again. That SPLC, in constructing its latest existence-justifying windmill, ignored the findings of its sole source in order to produce its slanderous report is not surprising. You’d expect a “journalist” to have a shovel at the ready.
As the very source of the report notes, the number of gang bangers he’s found is but a tiny fraction of our 1.4 million-strong active duty armed forces. Many enlistees admittedly come from tough neighborhoods and a very few do have gang ties. Even fewer follow a lunatic “white power” ideology. So why tar with suspicion our gallant young men and women in uniform? Why, with no real evidence, advance the claim that the Pentagon is purposely allowing this “infiltration” to occur just to make numbers?
Like the aggressively anti-troop, guilty-until-proven-innocent agit-prop A1 stories on Abu Ghraib, Haditha and volumes of other coverage, this latest lazy libel is part of the Times’ relentless campaign to Vietnamize our efforts in Iraq. This time, instead of branding the troops “baby-killers,” they’ll tattoo them with swastikas.