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Letter from the editor: Writing and editorial selections about controversial stories

We definitely stay in some tumultuous instances, with what seems to be a complete-blown lifestyle conflict erupting between diverse factions in a enormously polarized society. With social media delivered into the equation, Americans are thrown together into one big pool—one that is regularly full of sharks—at the same time as the design of stated social media apps has the impact of chumming the water. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I suppose you get the point. In light of the talk surrounding faux news, partisan politics, our lengthy-going for walks War on Terror, and my position as editor-in-leader of a news website, I idea I may take a stab at explaining how sure editorial decisions are made.

Unlike many mainstream information retailers, NEWSREP is staffed nearly totally by way of navy veterans. Our readers proportion plenty in not unusual with us, and even if they’re now not veterans themselves, our audience has a tendency to be overwhelmingly pro-military. Since we are former army, this gives us a piece of a home-subject advantage whilst reporting defense news. However, it also incites the ire of many on social media, as we’re perceived as a part of a fraternal brotherhood of veterans, and reporting anything that displays poorly on the navy is often viewed as a betrayal of kinds.

There is an entire genre of navy-themed news web sites nowadays. We had been the primary on the scene back in 2012, however others have followed. Many of them best include advantageous insurance of the U.S. Army. Others most effective document on veteran-precise problems inclusive of PTSD or VA blessings. Still others wave the American flag and upsell their readers patriotic T-shirts. There is nothing inherently incorrect with any of these things; but, it isn’t what we do.
The navy includes a number of the absolute pleasant that America has to provide, however also a number of its worst. The military isn’t always inherently desirable, but it’s far made exact by way of the honorable carrier of the humans in it.
As a creator and an editor, I could a good deal rather be reporting on the superb testimonies. There are a lot of them and our conflict-warring parties deserve the popularity.

I try to paintings on these sorts of memories whenever feasible. However, I am additionally the fellow who gets the phone calls, text messages, and emails about the dark side of the military. Veterans and active-duty infantrymen (and every now and then their spouses) have reached out to me approximately all types of tragedies and cowl-americathat have not just ruined careers, however destroyed lives. If you switch those human beings away and refuse to take their calls, then you definately are not definitely jogging a information site and also you aren’t virtually a journalist. At that point you are greater like a DOD public affairs officer.

The reality is that our reporters are not inside the military anymore and are not here to wave the flag, act as a cheerleader, or carry the water for the Pentagon.
There is a growing phase of the population that dismisses any terrible information as faux information. The truth is frequently uncomfortable and some might instead turn away from it. In different instances, the general public has the proper to be skeptical about journalism, as journalists don’t constantly get it proper. During the last few years, particularly, we’ve visible an increasingly more hysterical media enthusiastic about pushing out “takes” on numerous memories each five mins rather than certainly reporting. This creates a vicious circle in which journalists and readers get an increasing number of frustrated with one another.

Speaking of controversial tales, I didn’t intend to interrupt any information approximately Chief Eddie Gallagher and his upcoming court docket-martial this coming Monday. It appeared to me that there were already numerous major mainstream media stores protecting the case, and there has been no want for me to leap in and provide additional “takes” at the tale. Then I was approached by means of a Special Forces source who desired to inform me about a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan. He knowledgeable me that Gallagher become connected to his crew for sniper aid, and he stated that Gallagher had killed an unarmed farmer for the duration of the operation.

This statistics were alleged formerly in a leaked NCIS document, the information furnished to investigators by way of a soldier who, in my opinion, become unreliable. However, this new source coming to me changed into at the floor for the operation in query and become very dependable. I started out pushing at the story, verifying extra statistics. One piece of records got here from every other witness, a fellow Navy SEAL, who claimed to NCIS investigators that Gallagher had advised him that he killed an unarmed farmer in Afghanistan. The records I changed into being provided had no longer been said previously.

In order to do my due diligence, I called Gallagher’s defense attorney and requested him if he would like to touch upon the tale. He did, and told me that the story became totally made up. When I wrote the story, I made positive to consist of this assertion so that readers should listen both aspects of the story and make their personal conclusions in an knowledgeable manner.

I had, of route, predicted backlash when I published the story. I became not disappointed. This is a component and parcel to being a journalist in 2019. Sometimes you have to make difficult calls and file news with a purpose to truely be unpopular to many. We do this robotically and embrace the challenge. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “An informed citizenry is on the coronary heart of any democracy.”

Eighteen years into the War on Terror, we are a ways past “supporting the troops” and “spreading awareness.” Those days have come and gone. Our military is frayed, our foreign policy in portions, and new threats are looming at the horizon. Now is the time whilst we want to challenge ourselves to be better and to do better as a rustic.

Duane Simpson

Internet fan. Zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Alcohol enthusiast. Spent several months exporting UFOs in Jacksonville, FL. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting gravy in Tampa, FL. Spent 2001-2004 implementing saliva in Edison, NJ. Had moderate success getting my feet wet with junk food on Wall Street. Practiced in the art of building Virgin Mary figurines in Tampa, FL. Practiced in the art of marketing Roombas in Phoenix, AZ.

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