Saturday, September 25, 2004

Lord, but the media are such freaking weenies

Buried several paragraphs down in an online MSGOP (uh, I mean MSNBC) article about U.S. destroyers deploying off the coast of North Korea as part of an anti-ballistic-missile strategy, we have the following thoroughly unsatisfying and uninformative excerpt:

[Vice Admiral Jonathan] Greenert, who assumed command of the Navy’s largest fleet last month, also refused to name a target for the Sea of Japan patrols.

“I can’t specify adversaries, but you’re looking at rogue nations,” he said in his first interview since taking the fleet command. “Take it from there.”

Take it where, exactly? What is that statement supposed to mean? We have the title of the article, "U.S. destroyers deploying off N. Korea"; we have the opening paragraph describing patrolling "the waters off North Korea"; and yet, when he was obviously asked which country was the subject off all this attention, Greenert apparently couldn't bring himself to cough up the name.

Instead, what the press apparently got was some annoyingly lame and evasive, "Well (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), I can't really say (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), but we're going to be patrolling in the Sea of Japan (nudge, wink), so I'll let y'all figure it out from there (nudge, nudge, winkity, wink)."

Now, no one can miss the obvious implication that we're talking about charter "Axis of Evil" member North Korea, so what's the point behind Greenert's tap dancing? One suspects he really, really, really wants reporters to draw the right conclusion, but also wants an out later in case someone carelessly says, "Now, you're concerned about North Korea ..."

"Whoa!", Greenert would reply, "we never said anything about North Korea! Never mentioned their name. Not once, no sir (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)."

And the press plays right along, and lets Greenert get away with innuendo and plausible deniability. Shocked, shocked I am, that this is happening in the world of journalism these days. Not.

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