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Friday, March 04, 2005

Sounds Like Young People Really Are Watching the News

For some reason, no one wants to be in the Army anymore. Actually, the Pentagon knows exactly why: It's the President's masterful stewardship of the economy and the media's obsession with bad news. From the New York Times:

"S. Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command, attributed the decline in February to an improving economy that siphoned off potential soldiers and the news coverage of the violence in Iraq, which so far has claimed about 1,500 American lives."

Well, money is practically sprouting up out of cracks in the sidewalk.

And Smith's analysis displays a surprising sensitivity to epistemological concerns, for a Pentagon type: It's not actually the violence in Iraq that's scaring recruits away, it's the fact that the reporters insist on making folks in the U.S. aware of said violence.

Larry DiRita elaborates:

"I mean, without question, when there's the kind of coverage that there has been about casualties - and we certainly mourn all the casualties, but they are covered, there's prominent media coverage of casualties in Iraq - parents factor those kinds of things in to what they want their children doing."

So I guess if there were some way to frustrate the press' attempts to disseminate casualty statistics, then that might help with recruitment, huh?