Main Stream Media’s Anti-Veteran Bias

Posted on Tue 03/24/2015 by


20080516_lee_ce_photoBy Gregory D. Lee ~

Why is it whenever someone who has been in the military commits a crime the media headlines always emphasis that the suspect is a “veteran?” The latest example is Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, the man who allegedly was returned to the U.S. from Turkey after attempting to transit into Syria to join ISIS.

20141110_veteransmilitaryThe major news outlets included in their headlines that Pugh is an “Air Force Veteran.” The Associated Press headline read: “Air Force vet pleads not guilty to federal terrorism charges.” His veteran status trumps him being a Muslim convert who wrote in a letter to a woman believed to be his Egyptian wife: “I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic States,” and “There is only two possible outcomes for me, Victory or martyr.”

Pugh served in the U.S. Air Force as an airplane mechanic from 1986 to 1990, 25-years ago! I hardly think his veteran status has anything to do with the fact he is now a radicalized Muslim who wants to become a jihad martyr. That’s the real story here, not the fact he served in the Air Force a quarter century ago.

For as long as I can remember, the media has been portraying Vietnam veterans, Iraq war veterans, Afghan war veterans, former marines, ex-soldiers, ex-navy SEALS, former Green Berets and now Air Force airplane mechanics as being mentally ill individuals who are obsessed with guns and display various levels of violence or sexual deviance simply because they were exposed to the military.

The media will never admit this, but the evidence is overwhelming. The reporters of these events focus on the perpetrator’s military experience to explain their actions. The underlying message is that if you join the military, you too will suffer from mental illness and turn into a trained, mind numb robot killer. Many of these same reporters have never spent a minute in the military, but instead went to college to earn a journalism degree while these veterans were fighting terrorists overseas to preserve their First Amendment rights.

On March 13, 2015, WABC in New York City had a story that screamed: “Army veteran who scaled White House fence pleads guilty.” The first sentence of the story on its website read: “A knife-carrying Army veteran who scaled a White House fence and dashed into the executive mansion before being caught took a plea deal Friday.” Mentioning he had a small pocket knife makes him seem all the more menacing, instead of just being a mentally ill person who happened to have a pocket knife.

Other recent headlines have been:

“Former marine guilty of murder in ‘American Sniper’ trial.”

“Former marine freed from Mexican jail arrested for drunk driving in Georgia.”

“Former marine suspected of killing six in Pennsylvania.”

“Transgender [former] navy SEAL to primary Steny Hoyer.”

“Ex-Hawaii soldier sentenced in beating death of daughter.”

“Former soldier charged with aiding al-Qaeda in Syria.”

“Former coast guard member sentenced to 50 years for child pornography charges.”

And the list goes on and on. Something has to explain why an individual would drive drunk, kill six people, get a sex change to run in a primary race, beat his daughter to death, aid al-Qaeda and disseminate child porn. The media’s explanation is that these people are all veterans.

What else could possibly explain their behavior? Contributing Editor Gregory D. Lee is a retired DEA Supervisory Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the author of three criminal justice textbooks. While on DEA diplomatic assignment in Pakistan, he was involved in the investigation of several notable terrorism events and arrests. He recently retired after more than 39 years of active and reserve service from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Chief Warrant Officer Five Special Agent for the Criminal Investigation Division Command, better known as CID. In 2011 he completed a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan while on special assignment to the Special Operations Command Europe.

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