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SHOOTING: Article reflects anti-military bias

Letter by Gail D. McConnell, Fife on Jan. 9, 2012 at 11:29 am with 8 Comments »
January 9, 2012 1:31 pm

The News Tribune’s front-page article (1-6) about Mount Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson’s horrific murder seems to draw a direct connection between her murderer being “an Iraq War veteran” and her shooting. Since that phrase was the only description used about Benjamin C. Barnes, I see no other conclusion that could be drawn.

I found it interesting that on the same day, The Nose pointed out that MSNBC had backtracked from earlier statements implying that Barnes’ posting at Joint Base Lewis-McChord somehow contributed to the murder after discovering he “had big time trouble before he joined the Army.”

I believe it does a diservice to our men and women in the military to automatically draw negative conclusions when it is not warranted. I would ask your reporters and editors to look carefully at what you print – no matter what your bias.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. muckibr says:

    I think the reporter did a fine job writing that article. I served in the United States Army, and I was not at all offended by the article identifying the murderer as an Iraq War veteran. However, if the reporter had simply chosen to identify him as a “young white man” I’m absolutely sure someone else would have complained that such identification was racist against white people, or some kind of Gen-X stereotype because he was id’d as “young”.

    The reporter has to write something. You can’t just write that the the criminal was some sort of biological entity.

    There is no disservice done to our men and women in uniform by this article.

    The DISSERVICE that has been done to our men and women in uniform is that of sending them to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq in the first place. Had that not ever happen, perhaps this murder would not have either.

    One thing leads to another. No more Iraq wars!!!

  2. Gail, I’m surprised that you are surprised by this treatment of the story. Some things are very predictable in the PNW. This anti-military bias is one of them, regardless of the fact that we are a military community.

  3. Is there an anti-military bias in the Pacific Northwest?

    If there is, I have never seen it. I grew up in the Air Force as my dad retired at McChord AFB, and we lived on-base, then moved to Tacoma. The I joined the Army, and served three years at Ft. Lewis, living in both off-base and on-base housing.

    After I left the Army I came back home.

    In all the years I have lived here, since the early 1960’s, I have never seen what I would call any anti-military bias in the PNW. None.

    And, by the way, the story was just fine. Id’ing the shooter as an Iraq war vet was not a slam against all military personnel active or non-active. It was simply a fact about who he was. That’s all.

  4. SCORPION says:

    What editorial value did knowing that the shooter was an Iraq War veteran add to the story?

    If I write 100 stories about Iraq War vets and the carnage they cause, the violence they commit, etc… would it be fair to state that over a period of time the read will conclude that ‘all’ Iraqi vets has some issues?

    Again, the value to the story is a question I have. As a reader, it is of little value as reported.

  5. Then how else would YOU describe the shooter SCORP?

  6. SCORPION says:

    I stated my point earlier. At some point are you describing the person or are you demonizing Iraq war veterans?

  7. “… was shot and killed Sunday morning by Benjamin C. Barnes, an Iraq War veteran who then fled into the forest. Barnes was found drowned in a creek after a daylong manhunt.”

    That is absolutely all that is written in the article about the shooter. I just don’t see how that brief statement “demonizes” anyone. It is simply a statement of fact.

    And I can see that you don’t want to answer my question, so I won’t ask it again.

  8. SCORPION says:

    I have answered your question and raised the issue I see with what may be unneccasary descriptions.

    “… was shot and killed Sunday morning by Benjamin C. Barnes, who then fled into the forest. Barnes was found drowned in a creek after a daylong manhunt.”

    I see nothing wrong with this written version. And one more time, it is not just one brief statement. I stated this before.

    I answered your question, it just appears to me you don’t care for it and refuse to see a point or issue differently.

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