Friday, February 13, 2015

MSNBC, Racism, and the American Sniper

The Washington Examiner reported the following.  The statements have been highlighted, with emphasis added for analysis.  It is interesting to see the reporter's "fingerprints", or personal bias in his report.  The technique is similar to the language of Josef Goebbels' propaganda in which the introduction of opinion is made certain with:  

a. distancing language
b. change of language
c.  introduction of topics unrelated, seeking to cause, as reliable, opinion.  

Brass demand NBC apology over claim sniper Kyle was 'racist' on 'killing sprees'

Already under fire from Iraq War veterans for making up events, NBC is taking new flak today from former military brass over a correspondent’s claim that sniper hero Chris Kyle was a “racist” on “killing sprees” while protecting troops in Iraq.

Some 22 retired generals and admirals, including a former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, joined with dozens of other officers and the press watchdog Media Research Center in a letter to demand an apology from NBC parent Comcast after the network refused to acknowledge the comments.
Kyle, the subject of the hit movie “American Sniper,” said a letter to Comcast provided to Secrets, “is a hero, not a talking point for a smug journalist.”

The comment came from Middle East reporter Ayman Mohyeldin January 29 on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. Ayman, formerly with Al Jazeera, said of Kyle:
Some of what people have described as his racist tendencies towards Iraqis and Muslims when he was going on some of these, you know, killing sprees in Iraq on assignment.
a.  Note the introduction of "racism" with the pronoun "his", indicating possession.  
b.  Note the word "described" rather than "accused"
c.  Note the word "tendencies" rather than "assignments" or "combat action" etc. 
d.  Note the inclusion of religion after Iraq with "Muslims" separating the enemy that was engaged, from "Muslim."  This introduces religion where he formerly introduced the topic of racism. 
e.  Change of language:  "killing sprees" is change of language, preceded by "you know."
"You know" is a habit of speech.  Like all habits, we note what provokes its use and what does not.  It shows an acute awareness of his audience.  In this case, he was speaking directly to the national audience, through the conduit of Joe Scarborough.  
Note the method:
"some of what people have described" is distancing language.  He does not directly ascribe this to anyone in particular (passivity) and adds "some", indicating he is aware of other opinions. The subject is able to introduce the topic of racism without doing so directly.  Please see analysis of some of the Nazis, including at Nuremberg.  It can be compared to an American GI firing upon the enemy in Nazi Germany, and calling the GI "racist" and not engaged in battle, but in "killing sprees."
Note the sniper's job is to remove enemy threat, at a distance, to protect closer troops.  
Definition:  A skilled military shooter detailed to spot and pick off enemy soldiers from a concealed place. 
This particular assignment is often dangerous because the sniper is in a singular position where the enemy seeks to uncover.  
Consider the timing of the statement as well as the NBC News refusal to apologize: 

Eddie Ray Routh is on trial for the murder of the American Sniper.  The prosecutor stated that he  drank whiskey and used 'wet' marijuana before killing  Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend at a Texas gun range, then went to order a burrito at Taco Bell.  
This was from the opening statements.   The article continues:  

His smackdown of Kyle, considered the nation’s most effective sniper ever, caught host Joe Scarborough by surprise. He immediately challenged Mohyeldin’s claim Kyle went on killing sprees, and ended the segment saying, “All right, when we come back, Ayman is going to kick around Santa Claus.”
In their letter, the brass and veterans demanded an on-air apology. “Mohyeldin’s statements were an inexcusable slap in the face to the widow of Chris Kyle and to all those in the armed forces who continue to serve our country in harm’s way. Such rants do not add anything to a thoughtful discussion of public policy regarding Iraq,” they wrote in the letter being delivered today.
It is the latest public relations problem for NBC News, already grappling with how to deal with anchor Brian Williams’ war exaggerations.
Frustrated with a lack of apology despite an outcry, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and the brass turned to Comcast and stockholders of the company in pushing for an apology.
We understand that as members of the board of Comcast, the parent company of NBC, you may not be privy to how NBC News responds to such situations. However, your stockholders, advertisers, NBC News viewers, and the public have a right to know: Is it the policy of NBC News to allow its own reporters to make inaccurate and insulting editorial comments on its airwaves, aimed at our soldiers who gave their lives for their country? Is it the policy of NBC News to ignore the scandal and hope it goes away?” asked the letter.
“NBC News’ continued refusal to acknowledge and apologize for Mohyeldin’s malicious remarks about Chris Kyle is as disappointing as it is shocking. Chris Kyle’s family, veterans everywhere, and the public at large deserve from NBC News a strong, unequivocal public statement condemning Mohyeldin’s vile hate speech,” added the letter.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at


john said...

OT Update:

Police say there's no evidence Allenby was kidnapped

tania cadogan said...

I wonder who is claiming they were unuthorised?

Would cctv show who used the card?

Will he face charges for filing a false police report, wasting police time and whatever else they decide?

Sus said...

It seems to me there are several problems here. Number one being that Chris Kyle wrote a book and gave many interviews which substantiates Ayman's opinion. Kyle wrote that all...ALL...Iraquis are savages and pigs. They live in squalor and filth and are pigs, among other things. Kyle hinted of padding his numbers when other snipers were getting close to his number of kills. Ayman labeled like he saw it.

Unfortunately, this is now TV "news". It's opinion, not information. And viewers divide upon which opinion they tend to agree. Newscasts no longer trust viewers reach their own opinions based upon the information they give. Part of that is the rush to get the information out fast...correct or not.

Now, steps in the government, or in this case, the defense dept. They should stay out of it rather than demanding an apology. It's propoganda. It's bringing more attention to something most people didn't take note of and ensure they do. It's to make certain their wars continue.

I understand war is necessary at times. I understand snipers are an invaluable asset in protecting troops. But I don't want any news channel, the government, any general, or Clint Eastwood twisting Chris Kyle's life and words to tell me that.

Anonymous said...

Did you read Chris Kyle's book, "American Sniper"?

Sus said...

Yes, I did. I also saw the movie.

Lis said...

I can see the issues with the reporters words but at the same time he may have a point. Kyle was useful to our country's leaders and that made him a hero but as to what motivated him, people tend to read into it what they think is there, on both sides of the issue. Maybe it's not that simple.

Apparently Kyle was a liar in his normal life, making up stories about shooting citizens (he claimed to have shot 30) from the roof of the Super Dome after Hurricane Katrina, killing two guys who tried to rob him, punching Jesse Ventura in the face, and several more I can't think of now.

The thing is, when someone is telling lies like that as a matter of course, how can you believe anything about them?

It seems wierd to me for a movie that dramatizes his life to come out at the same time as the trial of his killer...

And on that subject, why would anyone take a troubled person shooting and put a gun into his hands the first time he's ever met him? I think that was colossally bad judgment there. (Well, obviously, in retrospect.)

It's a wierd case polarizing people because they are looking at it as representing things they believe in rather than as facts about an actual person who did have feet of clay and some serious issues.

sidewalk super said...

I hear the former al jezera reporter auditioning for the white house press secretary job via national tv before this administration ends, yes?

Anonymous said...

“I don’t shoot people with Korans. I’d like to, but I don’t.”

(Not a reliable denial btw)

“I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting,” Kyle wrote. “I never once fought for the Iraqis. I could give a flying f**k about them.”

Why does Kyle lie about shooting looters in Katrina? Why, if fantasizing or "padding his resume" about a group to shoot, is that the fabrication to choose?

Also, in addition to hitting Ventura he claims Ventura, also a veteran, said the SEALS "deserve to lose a few."

NBC punished Williams for his fabrications and his damage to the news "mission" of NBC. It seems like military brass needs to start by addressing the dishonest or disrespectful words of its own before going after some correspondent for sharing his debatable opinions.

Sus said...

Look at the facts surrounding Jesse Ventura's suit against Chris Kyle.
-only one witness said it happened. He was a good friend of Kyle's and admitted drinking 15 beers that night.
-no worker at the bar or anyone with Ventura saw it happen
-Jesse Ventura offered to drop the suit if Chris Kyle retracted the statement and apologized. Kyle refused, choosing to keep it in his book and mention it in interviews promoting his book.
-proving defamation is difficult. You must prove the defendant not only defamed you, but meant to profit from it.
-Chris Kyle's autobiography was a best seller. He sold the rights to his book to produce a movie and was helping make the movie at the time of his death. His widow is now promoting her book.
-a jury awarded Ventura 1.8 million, agreeing that Chris Kyle lied and he profited doing so.

Now, to me this looks like a business which Chris Kyle built to bring in quite a bit of money. The business is Chris Kyle, the hero. Others have kept it going, each for their own purpose. I believe it's a fair question to ask how much of it is true before buying into it...financially and emotionally.