Unlike other wars, this was not against the armies of a nation, but a cohort of individuals who were driven by an ideology (Islamism). This army knew no boundaries and did not use conventional tactics of war fare. Even when the Taliban were imprisoned, the media first reasoned and then insisted that the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war applied to these prisoners. Bill Maher, comedian, political commentator and host of the program "Politically Incorrect" called the terrorists "freedom fighters." (Landau, 2009) Many editorials were written excoriating Americans for ill-treatment of these prisoners. Some in the media even averred that these prisoners deserved the same rights guaranteed to those in correctional facilities in the United States. This meant that those imprisoned in the war on Terror could be given specific rights as afforded by the Constitution of the United States of America. The media in its insistence did not recognize that these prisoners knew no national affiliation and therefore were not protected by any convention. They were not U.S. citizens and therefore were not protected by the Constitution. But this did not stop them from opining and attempting to change public opinion.
On reading the newspapers, or watching CNN or MSNBC, it would seem as if the United States came from the perspective of tyrants and the Taliban and Iraqi prisoners were merely were some sort of victims. The national trauma of 9-11 was forgotten for political expediency. Only the Fox News Channel, which largely represents the conservative and Republican viewpoint, maintained some semblance of the political coverage of old, and largely supported the U.S. standpoint. There was a remarkable difference in how the media felt that the prisoners were treated vs. how they opined about excesses real or perceived by the U.S. troops. The media had a lot of negatives to proclaim when it came to the misadventures of U.S. troops at the Abu Ghraib prison. (Hersh, 2004)
While in war, given the circumstance that troops face day in and day out, it is conceivable that some abuses will occur, but a sense of perspective is necessary. The U.S. has largely routed the Taliban, enabled free and fair elections in Iraq, set up a system of government in Afghanistan, set up modern infrastructure in Iraq, and served notice to other tin-pot dictators in the region. Only research enables an information seeker to find this information, because the media does not report it. The media is more concerned with reporting instances of the death of U.S. servicemen or any setbacks to the U.S. Or its allies in this war. It is conceivable that the U.S. efforts have paved the way to eventual democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the Middle East. But these sorts of changes are not easy. Sacrifices have to be made. Indeed, almost 10,000 people lost their lives in Europe following World War II, even after Germany was forced to sign a declaration of surrender and hostilities officially ceased.
In the last decade, the United States has fought two major wars. The U.S. has been overwhelmingly victorious with a minimal loss of life. Several hundred U.S. servicemen have been killed, but far less than the death toll would have been if not for U.S.' overwhelming technological superiority. In fact, what a lot of people did not know that the number killed due to U.S.' peace keeping efforts in Kosovo, where the U.S. was merely one of several nations represented, was just a little fewer than those soldiers killed in the War on Terror. The reason this fact was unreported was simply because during the wars in the Balkans, a democratic president was in office.
One fact that stands out that supports a liberal (and leftists) bias in the media relates to the personal politics of the media. A survey revealed that the ratio of media personnel who voted for Democrats when compared to Republicans was 95:5. (MediaResearch, 2009) This survey was conducted for 240 journalists at the top rated newspapers, magazines and television news networks. This is good a statistic as any which proves that in the face of political leanings, objectivity takes a back seat.
Acheson, Dean, and Dean Acheson. The Korean War. New York,: Norton, 1971.
Hersh, Seymour. "Torture at Abu Ghraib: American Soldiers Brutalized Iraqis. How Far up Does the Responsibility Go?" The New Yorker May 10, 2004.
Landau, Saul. Freedom Fighters, Terrorists or Schlemiels? . 2009. Available: http://www.counterpunch.org/landau01302009.html. April 14, 2009.
MediaResearch. How the Media Vote. 2009. Mediaresearch.com. Available: http://www.mediaresearch.org/biasbasics/biasbasics3.asp. April 14, 2009.
Murphy, Jarrett. "Remembering the Killing Fields." CBS News, 2000. Vol. 4.
Rooney, Andy. "The 60th Anniversary of D-Day." CBS News, 2004. Vol. 6.
Scanlan, Chip. Michael Kelly's Death and Life. 2003. Poynter.com. Available: http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=28541. April 14, 2009.
Willbanks, James H. The Tet Offensive: A Concise History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.