In order to maintain a full-spectrum of schizoid (if not schizophrenic) understanding of the inherent insanity of life as we know it, I get my essential media insights in two ways on most days.     In the early morning I listen to NPR news. Mid morning, if I’m driving, I take in a bit of Talk Radio and then somewhere around 1 or 2, a solid dose of the actual President of the United States in his Own Mind, Bill O’Reilly (truly, I enjoy him and he’s pretty savvy; just a little too pleased with himself).
    Last week, in the early morning of the day on which General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker would begin their testimony on the “surge” and Iraq in general to Congress, I was tuned into Morning Edition with Steve Inskeep and Renee Montaigne on NPR.
    They had their own NPR correspondents from both Baghdad and Washington on “live” with them and, no matter how hard Steve and Renee tried (and believe me they tried!) they just could not get their own NPR correspondents to tell them that the surge was a failure and that the Iraq mess was even worse. In fact, the reporters seemed to go to incredible lengths (for NPR reporters) to insist to the anchors that there were “real” and “palpable” changes on the ground. Not perfect; not everywhere; but significant.         Especially significant and stunningly, offered up by respected Baghdad correspondent, Ann Garrels, despite the fact that neither Inskeep nor Montaigne bothered to ask, the fact that Sunnis all around Al Anbar had joined with the US in handing Al Qaeda in Iraq such severe setbacks that people were now actually out walking at night and that they’d formed a strong local police force to protect public security.
While I do not necessarily disagree with the notion that media should be skeptical, neither is it my belief that the media in this country must have as its first objective, the delegitimation and the discrediting of the very country in which it lives and thrives; given the astoundingly complete freedom of expression said media enjoys.
    We all know that the 24 hour news cycle; the growth of cable news (especially CNN and FOX) makes it virtually impossible for anyone to get away with anything too dishonest for very long. On the other hand, if there’s a little good news about the war on the terrorists who wish to end our way of life, perhaps there’s a need to report it, explore it even more deeply and not feel forced to “balance” that good news with such obvious attempts to negate it.
    Imagine (be marginally insane with me for a few seconds) that it’s the 5th of June, 1944 (the day before D-Day) but that somehow, 2007’s Steve Inskeep and Renee Montaigne are time traveling sixty-three years back and have snagged an interview with Ike.
    REPORTER: “So, General Eisenhower, “rumor has it that you will be sending 175,000 Allied troops onto the beaches of Normandy, to fight over 250,000 entrenched German soldiers. Don’t you think that’s far too risky? Is stopping Hitler worth the sacrifice of even one more American life?”
    IKE: He’s taken Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and France. He could move on England next and then on North America. Our allies and we think it’s better to stop him here. The Russians will pin them down on the East and if we can succeed here and drive them back, this’ll all be over by early next year.”
    REPORTER: “But many Americans are going to be killed and isn’t that going to create great divisions back home?”
    IKE: “Well it could, especially if the politicians make this a partisan thing as opposed to looking at the strategic importance of it all to our country.”
    REPORTER: “Are you suggesting that sacrificing young Americans is something we need to do in order to secure our future?”
    IKE: “Well, I sure hope not, but throughout our history Americans have always made the sacrifices necessary to preserve liberty and freedom. We’ve tended, since the founding fathers, to have a fairly simple and decent sense of what’s right and what’s wrong”
    REPORTER: “So, you’re saying that we’re right and the Germans are wrong?”
    IKE: “Yes, son, sometimes the answer is that simple.
On D-Day, US casualties were heavy: 2,500 GIs and 2,000 Paratroopers were lost. Canada lost 1,100 men and British and Australian casualties topped 2,000.
2,500 Germans were killed. But this powerful, American-led surge changed the direction of World War II and the Allies went from victory to victory until the full surrender of the Axis powers.
Back then, journalists reported. Today, special interests cloud the discussion with excessive babble from all sides and, incredibly, the press ends up taking sides. It might be preferable that rather than taking sides; they consider doing the sometimes dangerous, but necessarily difficult, behind-the-lines work to present the sides.
    That might mean a move away from agendas and towards accountability.