Fake journalism


Brad Knickerbocker, described as a "staff writer" for the Christian Science Monitor, weighed in today with a heavily-slanted piece reporting that morale in the US military has tanked. Knickerbocker's piece, full of suggestive but unsubstantiated phrases like,

While some don't see much defiance - and, in fact, have been surprised by the depth of solidarity - others see an unusual amount of tension surfacing for an all-volunteer military force.

He continues with the following startling charge:

Evidence includes numbers of deserters (reportedly in the thousands)

Unfortunately for his readers, Knickerbocker didn't provide any context or sourcing for the "thousands of deserters" statement. Fortunately for us, Pamela Hess, UPI's Pentagon correspondent, did some actual (and serendipitous) reporting on the subject today:

The number of annual military desertions is down to the lowest level since before 2001, according to the Pentagon.

The Army said the number of new deserters in 2004 -- 2,376 -- was just half the number of those who deserted prior to Sept. 11, 2001. That number was 4,597.

The numbers of deserters has dropped annually since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. The fiscal year 2004 total number of Army deserters is the lowest since before 1998, according to Army data.

What was Knickerbocker thinking?


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