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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

CBS News spreads more partisan lies, this time about the draft

By the time I graduated from high school in May 1975 — a month after the last choppers left the American embassy in Saigon — they were still running the birthdates lottery each year, but had long since stopped calling up young men, so I never had any worries about being drafted. 

However, I've got four kids of my own now, and my oldest, Kevin, will turn 17 in November.  So I think I can claim to have about as personal an interest in the possibilities for a revival of the draft as anyone not currently draft age.  Do I, therefore, identify with the subject of this CBS News article (which parallels one of their broadcasts this week)?

Beverly Cocco has spent most of her life protecting children in Philadelphia.

She spends most of her time worrying about other people's kids. But as Election Day approaches, it's her own two grown sons who Beverly is most worried about.

"I go to bed every night and I pray and I actually get sick to my stomach," she says. "I'm very worried; I'm scared. I'm absolutely scared; I'm petrified."

Beverly is petrified about a military draft — and she's not alone. There's an undercurrent of anxiety; mass e-mails are circulating among parents worried their kids could be called up.

"I think there's a good possibility," Beverly says.

No.  I don't much identify with Ms. Cocco.  In the first place, I already knew, as CBS News' report immediately goes on to say, that

neither President Bush, nor Sen. John Kerry has said he will re-institute the draft. In fact they both say they won't.

Nor am I of the type likely to be misled and frightened by — and that is exactly the purpose and intended effect of — the email and inuendo campaign that CBS News' report mentions, but disingenuously fails to identify a source for.  Yes, both candidates are against the draft; but one of them knows damn good and well that his own partisans are behind that fear campaign, and has done little or nothing to stop it.

In fact, even before I first read about the email scare campaign on Betsy's Page back on September 21st, I knew full well that the chances of the draft being reinstated in the United States were slim-to-none, regardless of what either presidential candidate may say, because I already knew what America's post-Vietnam military experiences, through and including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, have demonstrated to everyone who's paid any attention to them, especially including the military's own leaders.  To understand why, you can start with a splendid book by the general who led us through major combat operations in both of those wars, Tommy Frank's American Soldier (the next edition of which will, I'm sure, included on its back cover a reference to its coveted five-star rating on BeldarBlog's sidebar).  That book will take you through the astonishing transformation of the American military from Vietnam through today, and leave you with no doubts about why the amazingly professional, well-trained, high-tech, and joint-acting American military of this century is extremely unlikely to revert to conscription.

There's no shortage of other sources to debunk this rumor — Factcheck.org being one that does so fairly comprehensively.

But as it turns out — and as we should have expected, given the source of this story as it roared into the mainstream media — Ms. Coco almost certainly knew better, too, since she's not quite the ordinary soccer-mom and uninvolved-but-likely-Bush-voter described in CBS News' broadcast, but instead (as they've just added a stealth disclosure on their website version of the story to at least partly reveal) the local chapter leader of an organization dedicated to spreading this hysteria on a national basis.  [Yeah, she knew better — see new post above. — Beldar]

CBS News has again willingly propagated another ugly, partisan hoax.  Rathergate.com, Little Green Footballs, RatherBiased.com, Power Line, Hugh Hewitt, Catherine With a C, and many other blogs are on top of this.  I don't have anything new or original to add, nor much capacity left to be shocked by CBS News' sorry abuse of the public trust. 

Update (Wed Sep 29 @ 10:51pm):  The update previously here has been moved to a new post of its own, just above.

Update (Thu Sep 30 @ 5:45am):  I've deleted a couple of sentences from the end of this post, one of which repeated Mr. Cocco's email address; even though it is on the net elsewhere, I'm not urging folks to contact her directly at this point.  The other sentence urged folks to let their CBS affiliates know of their feelings, but just didn't fit gramatically any more; I still think that's a good idea.

Posted by Beldar at 06:09 PM in Global War on Terror, Mainstream Media, Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink

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Comments

(1) MrJimm made the following comment | Sep 29, 2004 7:20:12 PM | Permalink

Little Green Footballs is reporting that CBS actually went back and changed their on-line "transcript" of the TV report!!! Details here:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=12888_CBS_News_Covers_Up_Cocco_Misattribution

(2) Al made the following comment | Sep 29, 2004 7:49:45 PM | Permalink

The one figure I haven't seen that would be useful as a rebuttal is the total number of 'activatable' military personnel. Total count of the National Guard, the Reserves, etc. That there's only 3 National Guard units activated out of 38 (with a couple more getting ready to activate) which is pretty darn indicative, but the total counts of individuals would be nice.

(3) Thomas J. Jackson made the following comment | Sep 29, 2004 10:58:35 PM | Permalink

The GOP should run ads documenting this bill and show who is sponsoring it for the campaign.

(4) Al made the following comment | Sep 29, 2004 11:27:22 PM | Permalink

Screw that. Bring it to the floor and... vote on it.

1) McDermott and co will vote _for_ it.
2) All the Republican's vote against it in both houses

3) The "moderate D's" do... what?
4) Kerry and Edwards will vote 'absent'.

Either possibility in #3 is damning. Either a huge chunk of D's vote for the Draft. Which, well, won't sell well.

Or, a huge chunk of D's vote against the Draft. Thereby _crushing_ (like 99-1) this to show exactly how silly it is.

This _was_ a going-nowhere-really-fast bill... but why not pull it out and vote on it. Someday when Kerry is _in_ Washington DC.

(5) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 30, 2004 12:29:26 AM | Permalink

Mr. Jimm, the web page that LGF has linked to was a parallel news story based on the broadcast that contained many of the same words and phrases and quotes, but it isn't, strictly speaking, a transcript. It's just more nacht und nebel website revision by CBS News, making changes on their "news" pages without leaving tracks — a practice that bloggers like myself and Charles Johnson consider unethical, transcript or not.

(6) MC made the following comment | Sep 30, 2004 12:48:51 AM | Permalink

Keep on 'em! Continued proof that CBS and MSM in general expect to get away with anything they want to. They've been doing it for at least 40 years so who can blame 'em? Thank God for folks like Beldar!

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