Yesterday when I was browsing the daily headlines on WZZM13.Com (perhaps my first mistake), I came across a rather frustrating article that was reprinted from the Detroit Free Press.
The article, titled “Who’s hiring? The military” is the latest of many articles that have appeared over the years promoting military service as an option in tough economic times. As is typically the case in these kind of articles, the newspaper only spoke with service members and recent enlistees, both of whom had favorable opinions of the military.
No Dissenting Perspective
Seeing an article with a headline that talked about the current economic situation and the military, the first thing that popped into my head was the idea of a “poverty draft”. This is the idea that the military is seen primarily as a career option for the poor and that the military actively seeks out recruits from economically disadvantaged communities. There’s a wealth of information available about this, but the Detroit Free Press never discussed it.
This is likely due to the fact that the article does not cite anyone who is involved in promoting alternatives to military service to youth. This was particularly frustrating because the Detroit-based group FAME has been actively promoting alternatives to military service. The organization points out that many of the promises made by the military are broken. It also points out that significant hurdles exist in getting the education and job training benefits touted by the military.
The Michigan television station WWMT also ran a similar story that functioned as an ad for the military without bothering to offer a dissenting perspective.
An All Too Common Approach
Unfortunately, this is a common approach by the media when discussing military service. MediaMouse.org has reported on this numerous times in the past. In the past five years, we have seen the local media promote military recruiting repeatedly, but never include a dissenting perspective or even seek to independently verify the claims made by military recruiters.