WaPo's 'Voices Of The Troops' Sidelines DADT-Repeal-Supporting Majority In Favor Of The Fringe

12/01/2010 11:24 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Pentagon's study of its own "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy found that "70 percent of active-duty and reserve forces saw little or no problem with ending the 17-year-old policy." So, when I see an article titled "Voices of the troops from the 'don't ask, don't tell' report", I expect to hear from the soldiers who make up this newsmaking 70% majority. But the Washington Post, coupling its longstanding tradition of editorial sucking with their more recent go-for-broke support of homophobia, takes it in a different direction:

Some expressed fears about contracting AIDS or getting leered at in the showers. Others worried that it would get in the way of critical bonding at barbecues and bar outings. Still others said it would be an affront to their religious beliefs and harm the military's credibility.

In dozens of anonymous testimonials released by the Pentagon on Tuesday, service members and their spouses shared a variety of deeply personal views about "don't ask, don't tell," the policy that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military. Although many endorsed the idea of repealing the ban, which Congress will consider in December, some expressed deep misgivings, rooted in their beliefs and concerns about its effect on the military.

That's the lede. The actual news gets mentioned in the third paragraph, but the article soon wends on, sharing three quotes from soldiers who make up the pro-DADT 30% fringe, one quote from a soldier who supports the repeal, and one soldier, personally affected by the policy who likens "serv[ing] in silence" to a "knife" in the "back." Reading it, you'd imagine that the study actually came down with different results -- say, 60% in favor of the policy?

I'm not sure if the editorial intention here was to make a last ditch case for "Don't Ask Don't Tell" or if the paper just despises our fighting men and women. Either way, it's a puzzling distortion of the actual news.

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