Thursday, January 3, 2008

War (reporting): What is it good for?

Blacks accounted for 14 percent of all those who signed up for active
duty Army service in 2005. That number is down from an astonishing 24
percent in 2000, but slightly higher than the U.S. population. SOURCE

In fiscal year 2001, Hispanics made up 10.5 percent of active-duty Army
recruits. In fiscal year 2005, they comprised 13.2 percent of active-duty
recruits, according to Army statistics, slightly higher than their overall
percentage in the U.S. population of 12.5 percent. The percentage of Asian
recruits rose from 2.6 percent in fiscal year 2001 to 4.1 percent in fiscal year
2005, about on par with their percentage of the U.S. population. SOURCE

Historically, Native Americans have the highest record of military service
per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. Today, there are nearly 190,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives military veterans, according to DoD statistics. Citing that statistic, Hill noted that Native Americans today represent 1 percent of the Navy's total strength, which equals about 4,700 men and women serving on active duty and in the Reserves. SOURCE

Now, to my eyes people of color are largely absent from mainstream news coverage of the war. Why is that? This morning I watched coverage of a local National Guard troop headed to Iraq. Not a face of color was shown. Why are the brave men and women lauded as military heroes in heart-wrenching broadcast and print coverage so overwhelmingly white? Are people of color not going off to war, not returning home missing limbs, not dying?

As I watched families waving American flags, seemingly happy to send their sons (no women shown either) off to war , I also wondered this: Where are the families that don't support the war? Where is the tearful wife clinging to a departing serviceman? Where are the children sobbing as mommy leaves for battle? Is Cindy Sheehan the only angry mother out there? Where is the young man who joined the National Guard as a part-time job to help support his family and never dreamed of being sent into a civil war on the other side of the world? I know there has to be one somewhere.

You can guess what I think about this. What do you say? Is today's mainstream war coverage reporting or propaganda?

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