Friday, February 23, 2007

He's Ready for His Close-up, Mr. Fager

Over the past couple of months, we've written extensively about "Petition for Redress," the supposedly grass-roots campaign by junior military personnel to end our involvement in Iraq. More than 1,000 military members have reportedly signed the group's on-line petition, and they were featured prominently at a recent anti-war rally in Washington, D.C.

Now, Petition for Redress is heading for prime time, courtesy of CBS's "60 Minutes." Matt Drudge has posted (what appears to be) a network press release, touting the segment which will air on Sunday night. The story was reported by correspondent Lara Logan, who is--clearly--no friend of the U.S. military. Last year, Ms. Logan mounted an internet campaign to get the network to air her report on fighting along Baghdad's Haifa Street, a segment that CBS deemed "too graphic" for broadcast TV.

But, as Michelle Malkin--and others--pointed out, the story had more serious problems that images of dead bodies; video incorporated into Logan's report--which she claimed was "obtained by CBS News"--proved virtually identical to Al Qaida propaganda video of the same battle. Logan made no mention of how she obtained the video, or where it came from. As Ms. Malkin asked at the time: was Lara Logan an ignorant fool or a willing tool? Watch the videos, and draw your own conclusions. But, given that reputation, I'm highly suspicious of any military story reported by Lara Logan.

You should also be suspicious of Petition for Redress, as we've noted in the past. CBS will apparently depict the group's members as concerned and conscientious personnel, interviewed off-base and off-duty to prevent any conflict with their military duties. But in reality, the group is an astro-turf movement, backed by a high-powered public relations firm in D.C. (Fenton Communications), which promotes the anti-war organization and arranges media "opportunities." Funding for the P.R. effort appears to come from big-money leftist groups like and the Fourth Freedom Forum, which are also Fenton clients. According to the New York Sun, the Fourth Freedom Forum encouraged Fenton to hype the military group last October, just weeks after its inception. As we wondered a few weeks ago, how many other start-up organizations manage to secure the services of of top P.R. firm, barely a month after they launch?

Media outlets that have covered Petition for Redress are certainly aware of its relationship with Fenton Communications, but you won't see that in any of their reports. And, not surprisingly, you can expect that 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager will ignore that connection as well. On the other hand, you can certainly expect the network to present the group's founder, Petty Officer Jonathan Hutto, as a young sailor of conviction and conscience. But, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that Petty Officer Hutto isn't your typical sailor. Thanks to some digging by the Sun and Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette, we know that Hutto joined the Navy in 2004, only one year after participating in some well-publicized anti-war protests. He's also a college graduate who worked as a paid staffer for Amnesty International and other liberal groups before enlisting in the Navy. And, he's also accused the service of racism and discrimination in the not-too-distant past.

Call me a bit jaded and cynical, but the timing of Hutto's enlistment (and subsequent founding of the anti-war group) seems more than a bit convenient. It's difficult to imagine how someone leading an anti-war rally in 2003 would enlist in the Navy a year later, with the full knowledge that he might be called to participate in a conflict he so adamantly opposed. I don't think Hutto is the "Manchurian Sailor," some sort of plant by the radical left to stir up dissent within the ranks. However, I do believe that Hutto had a plan when he showed up at that recruiting office, and (following the Vietnam-era model) he's using military service to pad a resume and polish his activist credentials, angling for some sort of political career in the future. Can the publication of "Winter Sailor" be far behind?

As for me, I won't be watching that 60 Minutes segment on Sunday. I recommend that you skip it, too.


Unknown said...

C-Low...Sadly, I can't disagree with anything you've said. Lincoln, as I recall, suspended habeus corpus and threw a lot of Civil War-era "Huttos" into jail. That would never fly today, but someone needs to monitor these groups and find ways to halt their campaign of sedition.

We need another Lincoln. Bush tried, but he's been beaten and bloodied by the media, the liberal nuts and elements of the judicial system. I genuinely fear that he's afraid to put up much of a fight, particularly with the Dims running Congress. And, what's worse, the next commander-in-chief will be more passive in this regard. If it's a Democrat, we'll simply cut and run and stage a victory parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. If a Republican wins in '08, he'll be so cowed that the War on Terror will become an "All-PC" affair.

Sadly, our presidential "choices" next year are a reflection of how far we've fallen as a nation.

jobob said...

Another Journalistic fraud perpetuated by the MSM. It doesn't surprise me a bit

warhorse said...

You might find this appeal for redress a little more to your taste --- I certainly did ... :-)

Mike H. said...

Warhorse all I get is a blank screen. Is the site still up? That goes for and Were they told to take it down? It might be that I might not be able to see because I have Netscape, not the first time that's happened

I'd like to see it up to counter the sailor, who if he were in during the time that I was in the Navy would be doing some serious swimming practice, and Army Lt Watada who refused to deploy with his troops. Those gutless wonders have no drafted troops to work with so they think that lying about their commitment will turn everyone against the military instead.

warhorse said...

mike h. --- all I can say is it worked, and continues to work, for me. The meat of the appeal is the following quote:

"As an American currently serving my nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to fully support our mission in Iraq and halt any calls for retreat. I also respectfully urge my political leaders to actively oppose media efforts which embolden my enemy while demoralizing American support at home. The War in Iraq is a necessary and just effort to bring freedom to the Middle East and protect America from further attack."

They're asking all active duty, reserve, and national guard members to sign it for delivery to congress.

Mike H. said...

Sounds good to me. As an eight year Marine I think that the petition for redress people should be drummed out of the military. You don't like the job that you signed up for? Less than Honorable Discharge and no bennies after six months. Want to be a PR piece? Take a hike.

Mike H. said...

Forgot to add - I wish I was young enough to be in still. I'd sign the Appeal for Courage in a heartbeat.

STVU student said...

This guy has no business in the Navy or any other branch of the armed forces. He signed up for the Navy, not to go to summer camp because he couldn't cut it teaching 5th grade. He signed up while this conflict was already going on, and I just have to wonder why? It should be no hard choice here- you don't believe in something, you do not join an organization whose very mission is to support it.