May
30
2008

Winter Soldier Blackout

Media still freezing out anti-war veterans

In March, dozens of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars gathered in Maryland to offer their firsthand accounts of what they had seen—and in some cases done—in both war zones. The dramatic Winter Soldier hearings were well-covered in the alternative and independent media. But the corporate media mostly took a pass (FAIR Action Alert, 3/19/08)--a trend that continued when Winter Soldier came to Capitol Hill.

The group that organized the first event, Iraq Veterans Against the War, was invited to Capitol Hill on May 15 to appear before the Congressional Progressive Caucus in an informal hearing. As before, the assembled veterans offered remarkable accounts of their war experiences. Given the proximity to the Beltway media elite and the fact that Congress was debating another round of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one might have thought it would be hard for the corporate media to ignore Winter Soldier a second time.

But ignore it they did, offering even less coverage of these hearings than of the March events. One notable exception was the PBS NewsHour, which aired a report on May 21 about Winter Soldier. But they were a lonely exception to the media rule, which seems to be that there is now a little space to talk about certain veterans' issues—like post-traumatic stress and suicide rates—so long as you don't hear from the vets themselves, or at least this particular group of outspoken anti-war veterans.

ACTION: Ask the network newscasts why they decided, once again, to ignore the Winter Soldier hearings.

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