Army Dubs Anti-Army Blogging 'Balanced'
The U.S. military has occasionally had a tense relationship with the military blogosphere, but according to Wired's Danger Room, its stance toward civilian bloggers is surprising. Noah Shachtman writes that Army officers receive reports that label as "balanced" the often negative and accusatory military coverage of many left-leaning blogs. As he notes, "The vast majority of the posts are considered 'balanced' — even when they rip the Army a new one."
Schachtman points to a particular edition of the "Blogosphere and Social Media Report," a round-up of social media and blog posts on military affairs prepared by defense contractor MPRI for top brass. The edition, which surveys military reactions to blog chatter during the week of the Wikileaks debacle, includes negative posts from many popular bloggers. This includes The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan, who declared the video "proof of what looks to me like a clear war crime," and Glenn Greenwald, who wrote:
The WikiLeaks video is not an indictment of the individual soldiers involved -- at least not primarily. Of course those who aren't accustomed to such sentiments are shocked by the callous and sadistic satisfaction those soldiers seem to take in slaughtering those whom they perceive as The Enemy (even when unarmed and crawling on the ground with mortal wounds), but this is what they're taught and trained and told to do. If you take even well-intentioned, young soldiers and stick them in the middle of a dangerous war zone for years and train them to think and act this way, this will inevitably be the result. The video is an indictment of the U.S. government and the war policies it pursues.
Despite the harsh tone of the week's blog posts, the officers surveyed still considered the criticism "balanced." What seems to make a post "critical," Shachtman observes, is that it blasts "a particular Army general — or the Army’s ability to perform in Afghanistan." As evidence, he notes label was slapped on Jason Sigger of Armchair Generalist for calling Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey "something of an ignorant asshole."