On Second Thought: The White House’s Shifting Story on bin Laden Raid

Certain features of the White House story about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound were irresistible to the media: A fierce firefight. The feared terrorist leader crouching behind his wife as the Navy SEALs approached, before resisting or possibly even reaching for a weapon. And on and on. Of course, those details have been substantially altered by the White House, if not scrapped altogether. And thus we started to see headlines like this one in the New York Times: “Raid Account, Hastily Told, Proves Fluid.” As that story put it: a classic collision of a White House desire to […]


Giving and Getting ‘Coined’

The Washington Post had a report yesterday (2/22/11) about the military tradition of giving “challenge coins.” For thoseunfamiliar, here’s a quick explanation: “Challenge coins,” as they are known, have become an important part of the ethos of the armed forces, where the story of service members’ careers–deployments, promotions, awards–is told by the ribbons and patches on their uniforms. Traditionally, commanders hand out the coins to troops for exemplary service and morale boosting. The pointof the article is thattoo many coins are floating around,and are being offered to just about anyone. Including reporters who cover the military: When he was covering […]