Posted by lex, on December 12, 2006
The Christian Science Monitor discovers Bill Roggio:
In recent months, the gruesome images and stories emanating from Iraq have hardened the public’s perception about the conflict there. The war is increasingly viewed as a grim, chaotic mess…
But for those who troll the blogosphere for news, there is a distinctly different view of the Iraq war available. In this version, the United States is “winning the war on the battlefield, albeit with difficulties in some areas,” but “losing the information war.”
This is the war as seen and posted by Bill Roggio, a former active duty soldier (in the early 1990s) and current blogger embedded with marines in Iraq. His site is http://www.billroggio.com/. Mr. Roggio is no small-time Web scribe. He has written for The Weekly Standard, National Review, and the New York Post. And his posts, such as his recent ones filed from Fallujah, have created a buzz among conservative bloggers.
Roggio’s view on the conflict in Iraq is decidedly personal and naturally one-sided, but it is engaging. When he’s embedded with troops, as he is now, Roggio offers something not often seen in the media – stories about soldiers on the job in dangerous places.
What could be more compelling? And who could object to that? Why, the CSM themselves might, a bit:
The problem, one all too common in the blogosphere, is that Roggio has become less a reporter than a validator of the pro-war viewpoint to many. He has become a phenomenon among war supporters, most of whom, judging from reader comments, read him largely because they agree with his views.
And that’s too bad for the war’s supporters and its detractors as well. Bloggers such as Roggio can create a fuller picture of the conflict in Iraq. But if only one side of the political spectrum reads him – or one side reads him and only him – both sides will be missing some important perspective.
But this is a false dichotomy, this one-the-one-hand-on-the-other spectrification: Those who support the war can’t help but be inundated by a news media whose sacred responsibility to act as a watchdog on all government they have allowed to morph into reflexive pessimism upon everything this government has tried to do before finally degrading into inveterate personal hostility and race-you-to-the-exits defeatism.
Which is a problem, because quite frankly, that’s where most people get their news, which in turn informs public opinion which is the strategic center of gravity for any democratic government as well as the soldiers they field.
People who read Bill Roggio are getting a much fuller perspective on what’s happening in Iraq than those who would only on the CSM, just for one example. Or the Washington Post,for another. Because as Michael Fumento recently pointed out, it’s not exactly like they’re got a lock on Teh Truth:
“The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq [Al Anbar Province] or counter al Qaeda’s rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report,” began a front-page article in yesterday’s Washington Post by Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks. It concerned the so-called “Devlin Report,” a five-page document allegedly filled with gloom and doom. It contrasts completely with my article Return to Ramadi, in the Nov. 27 Weekly Standard, in which I write that the largest city in the province is slowly being reclaimed from al Qaeda. By coincidence, the day my article hit the stands the Times of London published an extensive article coming to the same conclusion as mine. But for the timing, you’d practically think one of us had plagiarized the other.
Why such different conclusions between our articles and the Post’s and whom to believe?
Would it surprise you to find that one possible source of the discrepancy was that, like Roggio, both Fumento and the London Times writer filed from their reports from Ramadi itself? Or that not only had Linzer or “Fiasco” Ricks never been to Ramadi, but that they had instead filed their report from Washington?
No. No, it probably wouldn’t surprise you. You read milblogs.