Administration Propaganda Hits Home

No one can forget the story, a high paid NFL player decides to drop the fame and fortune in order to don a US Army Ranger uniform and fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The story Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan was the ultimate in tales of a great American Hero, or at least we thought. With Tillman Jersey’s flying high above NFL tailgater’s and his number emblazened on the helmets and shoulders of players throughout the league everyone wanted to celebrate the heroism that was Pat Tillman. Now I have to say, with the exception of the story of how he died all of this was true. Tillman did indeed leave the league to fight for the country he loved but that is not the end of it.

Like Jessica Lynch before him it, the incident which resulted in Tillman’s death was not what it seemed.

Tillman was killed in a barrage of gunfire from his own men, mistaken for the enemy as he got into position to defend them. Immediately, the Army kept the soldiers on the ground quiet and told Tillman’s family and the public that he was killed by enemy fire while storming a hill, barking orders to his fellow Rangers.

Great story but it was all bullshit. After the patriotic fervor calmed down the Army came clean with Tillman’s family about what really happened but the damage was done. The Army had used Pat Tillman as a propaganda tool to drum up patriotism and in the process completed a sham perpetrated on the American public and most importantly Tillman’s family.

“Pat had high ideals about the country; that’s why he did what he did,” Mary Tillman said in her first lengthy interview since her son’s death. “The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting.”

This is just one example of why it is crucial to the functioning of our Democracy that we have a free and unencumbered press. As a result of their focus on the bottom line coupled with a White House in information lock down mode there was no way the news media could even check this story. Instead they willingly gobbled up the Pentagon press releases and official quotes about what happened and echoed it throughout the media. Had even one mainstream media outlet spent the money to have reporters on the ground in Afghanistan (or outside of the Green Zone in Iraq for that matter) it would be much more difficult for official lies like this to make their way to the American public. But instead we are left with a careless, vain, capitulating media that is more concerned about access to power than to holding them accountable to the people whom they are there to serve.

Personally I find this kind of Pentagon myth making disgusting but I am even more disappointed in the fourth estate and their complete lack of concern for serving the public. You can call the media liberal if you like, I prefer to call them lazy, stenographers for power.

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