Along the Tracks

Monday, September 22, 2003

It couldn’t possibly be patriotism

The New York Times cranks out the spin story of the day, claiming the uptick in military enlistment is due to the bad economy!

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that a tough job market and the lack of funds to attend college can provide a pool of potential enlistees. And to be fair, the NYT gives a head Army recruiter a five-word quote that supports the economic angle. But I refuse to believe patriotism is not the primary factor. Does the Times expect me to accept that young people are really signing up to a strict lifestyle, limited economic prospects in the short term and potentially laying their lives on the line, but are ambivalent about their country and its government - at a time of war?

This disrespect of motivations inside the military is rampant in the media - especially the New York Times. If you’ll recall, during the rescue of Jessica Lynch, the Times made a big deal of her family’s humble background, and claimed she only joined the Army because she had no other opportunities in Bush’s America. Such accusations were insulting then, and are insulting now.

Interestingly, the Times has discovered that minorities do not represent a larger percentage of the enlistees than in the population as a whole. Good news, right? Not according to the Times: “The drop in black recruits may be tied to the Army's increased focus on the college market, military officials say.” In other words, a lack of college opportunities has denied African-Americans the chance to be represented above statistical proportions. Thus, no matter what the level of recruitment of minorities, it is universally bad news.

Another insult to our service men and women, courtesy of the New York Times.

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