Some who fight in Iraq say the press is only showing one side of the war — the bad side.
Writes Mike Spector in The Wall Street Journal:
J.P. Borda started a Web log during his 2004 National Guard deployment in Afghanistan to keep in touch with his family. But when he got home, he decided it was the mainstream media that was out of touch with the war.
"You hear so much about what’s going wrong," he says. "It gets hard to hear after a while when there’s so much good going on."
Mr. Borda, a specialist, read other soldiers’ blogs and found he wasn’t alone. Hundreds of other troops and veterans were blogging world-wide, and many focused on a common enemy: journalists.
The 31-year-old software analyst, who now lives in Dallas, wanted to make it easier for people to read soldiers’ accounts. So he started a Web site, Milblogging.com, to organize as many blogs as possible by country, military branch and subject matter. Today, the site links to more than 1,400 military blogs world-wide and was recently purchased for an undisclosed amount by Military.com, a Web site catering to soldiers that is owned by Monster Worldwide Inc.
Now, Mr. Borda finds himself at the center of a growing blogging movement. Military bloggers, or "milbloggers" as they call themselves, contend that they are uniquely qualified to comment on events in armed conflicts. Many milbloggers also argue that the mainstream media tends to overplay negative stories and play down positive military developments. For many of these blogs, says Mr. Borda, "the sole purpose is to counteract the media."
There have always been at least some soldiers who have wanted to go to battle against Big Media. Some in the military blamed coverage of the Vietnam War for turning American public opinion against it. What’s changed? The Internet now allows frustrated soldiers and veterans to voice their opinions and be heard instantly and globally.
The backlash takes many forms. Some bloggers point out what they see as inaccuracies and post lengthy critiques of current reporting. Others post their own stories. Some simply sling arrows.