Thursday, August 25, 2005

NY Times Watch

From Jewish World Review:
Colonel Thomas Spoehr is annoyed with New York Times reporter Michael Moss, for what I think is a good reason.

Spoehr is the director of materiel for the Army staff. He had a good news story to tell Moss, which Moss converted into a bad news story.
According to Colonel Spoehr, he told Mr. Moss a story about improvements that the Army was making to its "Interceptor" body armor. These improvements would protect U.S. troops from some types of ammunition that could penetrate the "Interceptor." The Army was being proactive in making these improvements; the ammunition that this body armor could be susceptible to was not yet being used by Iraqi 'insurgents."
"We're taking what we think is a prudent step to guard against a step (the insurgents) could take, but that's a step that really hasn't developed yet," Spoehr said.
The process of determining exact specifications, and then working with contractors to begin producing the new body armor took a number of months. This was very quick compared to the usual procurement procedures of the Pentagon.
Here's how the story was presented by Moss in the New York Times Aug. 14th: "For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks of insurgents.

"The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system."

Spoehr told Moss all the things he told me, but there is not a single positive quote in his story.

"You would get the impression that our soldiers were in harm's way or at risk," Spoehr said. "That is not true."