When you can't rebut the message, attack the messenger. That's what NewsBusters did regarding a editiorial that appeared in the Army Times and related publications supporting the resignation of Defense Secreatary Donald Rumsfeld, where writers were quick to tar it with the allegedly liberal view of the papers' corporate owner, Gannett:
- John Stephenson insisted that Army Times and related newspapers were not "professional military publications," adding, "They are now part of the Gannett Group (USAToday) and the writers for these four 'military papers' also work at USAToday!"
- Michael Bates reiterated the ownership point, also claiming: "Moreover, this isn't the first time these 'military newspapers' have called for Mr. Rumsfeld to be fired. They also did so two and one-half years ago."
- Mark Finkelstein claimed that the papers are "nothing more than cogs in the Gannett chain, a member-in-good-standing of the MSM whose flagship paper is the reliably-liberal USA Today." Finknelstein offers no evidence that every Gannett-owned paper must follow the editorial policies of USA Today. Nor does he support his suggestion that getting rid of Rumsfeld is an inherently "liberal" position, after all, numerous Republicans have been critical of Rumsfeld's performance during the war.
WorldNetDaily joined the kill-the-messenger party, playing up in a Nov. 5 article a claim that, as a reporter for Stars and Stripes during the Vietnam War, Army Times editor Robert Hodierne was accused of "treason" for writing about a group of soldiers "who, for a brief time, refused to fight."
WND does not detail the actual article that Hodierne wrote. In it, he writes of an infantry company that lost 23 men and an officer during a day of fighting:
By two p.m. the sixty-one men of Bravo Company were ready to move back into the same area. No one really wanted to go. They just wanted to sit in the shade and be left alone.
The commander, Captain William H. Grayler, explained the situation. There would be no helicopter gunship support. The gunships had more important things to do than support Bravo Company. Air and artillery couldn't be used because the marines were too close. They had no mortars, The infantryman, with his rifle and grenades, was expected to dig out the North Vietnamese.
WND doesn't explain where, exactly, the "treason" is in Hodierne's article.
UPDATE: Accuracy in Media also hops on the bandwagon. (You'd think this was coordinated or something.) A Nov. 6 column by Cliff Kincaid calls Gannett "important bastion of liberal media power" and attacks USA Today.