The Herald-Leader Hatchet-Job on Meyer

The Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky., of 15 December featured banner headlines the width of the front page (10.5 inches) and 3.5 inches high concerning the fact that (gasp and three palpitations) there were some irregularities in the account concerning the awarding of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Kentucky Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer recently by no less than the president. The paper devoted 3.5 full pages in the First Section to the account, prepared by Jonathan Landay, a writer employed by the McClatchy organization, owner of the newspaper, who was embedded in the military unit in which Meyer saw action.

Granted that McClatchy, as well as the Knight-Ridder outfit from which it bought the paper a few years ago, occupies the left-lunatic fringe of the liberal establishment and would naturally turn a jaundiced eye on anything military, this still seemed a bit like overkill. Four people, each standing on a different corner of an intersection, would look at the same auto accident on a calm, cloudless day and come forth with four different accounts. McClatchy apparently believes that in a lengthy firefight involving multiple deaths and wounded everyone involved should recount exactly, precisely, unmistakably, and completely accurately every single thing that happened.

There were, as might be expected, some discrepancies in the accounts concerning the action, but the notion that Landay, who obviously had an agenda, should be taken more seriously than anyone else is laughable. The account deserved a significant mention, not an outright effort (including maps and huge pictures) to virtually demonize Meyer, who certainly did not request consideration for a medal. He was nominated, as per protocol, by his commanding officer. Landay, a civilian the troops had to be bothered with protecting instead of focusing entirely on keeping themselves and their comrades alive, predictably said Meyer deserved the medal, as if anyone should care what he thought. In the online McClatchy bio of Landay, there is no mention that he has had any military experience.

In April 2007, Landay appeared on the PBS leftist corner known as Bill Moyers Journal to condemn directly the mainstream media’s mishandling of its reporting of the Iraqi war as alleged by them and, indirectly, the Bush administration. Dan Rather, famous (actually, infamous) for perpetrating the fraud concerning George Bush and the Texas Air National Guard in 2004, also appeared on the program, so the Landay/McClatchy bias is obvious. Nobody gets farther left than Moyers or more unsusceptible to belief than Rather.

As for the current matter, expect editorial comment in the coming days to the effect that war is bad, shouldn’t happen, volunteers can expect to be killed and that not even a scintilla of discrepancy should ever infiltrate a government document or action, never mind that the paper has to do its share of corrections. Also expect an editorial concerning the near-majestic actions of the president in getting the troops out of Iraq, notwithstanding that he only fulfilled the plans put into place before he became president. After all, his Nobel Peace Prize, awarded after only a few months in the presidency during which he began his worldwide apology efforts, places him on a level that’s nearly otherworldly.

As for the H-L, it has a built-in proclivity for hatchet jobs on entities it doesn’t like and has shown in the past just how seriously it takes this important responsibility. For instance, it didn’t like the idea that Southland Christian Church, probably the second largest church in the state, didn’t hold services on Christmas Day in 2005, and castigated the congregation royally. There was a darker underlying element at work, however, i.e., that Southland represented to the paper the Christian mindset, which is anathema to the “enlightened,” notably those in the editorial department and the “mainstream media” in general.

Or take the “University of the Cumberlands Affair” of March 2006. On seven days of a nine-day period, the paper made the expulsion of a homosexual student who “outed” himself on the Internet just three weeks before the end of the semester, front-page-above-the-fold stuff, positioned in the area devoted to the most important news of the world. This says something about the managerial mentality and professionalism attached to this publication. The school was simply carrying out a school policy, which also meant expulsion for known adultery and fornication.

In addition to the huge front-page segments, pictures, and headlines, the paper dedicated a huge plethora of columns and pictures to the subject on its interior pages, all in the front (A) “news, editorial, op-ed” section. In the process, it furnished free-of-charge in the supposed “news accounts” the information that a protest drawing people from all over the state would be held at UC, Williamsburg, Ky.

In the TV news accounts of that “protest effort,” there seemed to be more interviews with law enforcement people, standing around sort of slack-jawed and obviously wondering why they were there, than with the participants. The paper said “about 50” showed up in a state with a population of about 4.2 million, so there might have been 35-40 actual participants. There were 1,700 students at the school, so it might be correctly assumed that their apathy was evident. They knew and subscribed to the rules.

The question remains, even allowing for the paper’s mindset: Why such an inordinate hatchet-job on Meyer? In each of the matters mentioned above, the paper showed a mean-spiritedness hard to understand but endemic to “liberal thought” in most any area.