Lt. Watada Press Coverage
As an LIS scholar, citizen, and human being, I've been paying close attention to how the media has been covering the position of Hawaii-born Lt. Watada, who is refusing to serve in Iraq.
From the editorial pages, I have to say that "my" Honolulu Advertiser again dropped the ball. I haven't seen a good editorial on his honorable stand. The paper's main articles were written by its military reporter. The paper also conducted an online survey, which only gave respondents only two choices (unlike the usual 3).
"What do you think of Watada's actions?"
"He should be allowed to act on his conscience without penalty." (832)
"He should be punished and dishonorably discharged." (898)
No opinion." (28)
Source: Honolulu Advertiser Online.
Of course, there should have been another option to indicate that he may be punished or discharged, but is doing the right thing; or that he should be allowed alternative service. Even the letters printed in the paper seem skewed. The Honolulu Weekly has been suggesting that Advertiser coverage is biased because it publishes a military edition and other investments. I really have to wonder, and might drop my subscription.
The Star Bulletin had a good editorial on his stand. Perhaps I should subscribe to it, since it better reflects my thinking on this important issue.
You can look at http://www.thankyoult.org/ for more details on his case, and to examine other media coverage. I imagine that the killing of Zarqawi that day buried the story to some extent, but I sense and still hope that it might be part of a tipping point, along with our reaction to the investigation of the massacre in Haditha. It is terribly short-sighted if anyone believes that Zarqawi's killing will reduce the number of attacks on soldiers.
Only a few outlets carried an interview with Lt. Watada, such as the Pacifica Radio program Democracy Now and on Truthout.org.
Democracy Now also had a link to a video of Lt. Watada's Statement.
On one of the interviews, I was very interested to hear how other soldiers at Fort Lewis were reacting to him. I was saddened that he did not know of any supporters on base. I imagine it is lonely to take such a stand at first. I have a few students with spouses who are serving in Iraq. I wonder how they feel. I hope they and their spouses understand that Lt. Watada is doing this for them as well, so that we can try to bring this war to a closure. It seems blatantly obvious that this White House entered the war in Iraq without much of a plan on how to leave or how to supposedly "implement democracy" (as if that can be done as part of an occupation).