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April 13, 2006
Michael Yon Dissents, And A Door Slams

Michael Yon has resumed his intrepid travels through Iraq to bring us some of the best reporting available from the front lines, relating the interaction of American troops with the Iraqi people and their engagement against the insurgents. Michael will also be giving us his perspectives on what he thinks of the situation, and given his embedding and his track record, his voice has great credibility. That credibility has gained him a following not just in the blogosphere but also among audiences of radio and television shows.

Unfortunately, for at least one radio host, Michael only serves as a conduit for the host's own perspective, and according to Michael has angrily discarded him as soon as his evaluation differed from that of the host:

Of course! Ye’ old censorship. Every country practices censorship, in one form or the other. Just this week, Thailand is having a Texas-cage match over censorship, accuracy in reporting, and alleged slanderous swipes at the King. Last week, in America, a radio producer for a large syndicated program in the United States called me requesting that I go on the show, a show that has hosted me many times and where I’ve been referred to as, “Our man in Iraq.” But when I said Iraq is in a civil war, that same producer slammed down the phone and, in so doing, demonstrated how much he reveres truth.

The many faces of suppression are interesting. The first time I said something the producer did not agree with, he slammed down the phone. That’s why I do not accept advertisement. That same syndication had regarded my opinion highly when I was saying what they wanted to hear. They were not happy per se for truth. The truth was that we were making much progress in Iraq, and that is what they wanted to hear. But I knew the honeymoon would end the day the truth was at variance to their narrowly defined message. When the receiver slammed into the phone, the producer revealed himself naked; he was not supporting the troops, nor the Iraqis, but the President.

Again, just as with South Park and Comedy Central, this isn't censorship; the government has not restrained Michael from expressing his opinions. Radio hosts have every right to decide what guests and callers they want to invite onto their show, just as the stations themselves have the right to decide which hosts they will broadcast.

Outside of that, it shows a disappointing immaturity on the part of the radio host. It's one thing to disagree with Michael about his analysis of the situation; as Michael himself would certainly tell us, he's not infallible. However, if a show has spent its time promoting Michael as an expert on the ground -- "our man in Iraq" -- then the show loses credibility for treating him so shabbily for disagreeing with the host on his perspective. It's intellectually dishonest, and a credible host would have honored his invitation and debated the point with Michael. Otherwise, all we will get from that host is a series of yes-men, a failing of many radio shows where the host has difficulty handling honest debate.

I don't agree with Michael on this point, but I think that Michael has a unique perspective and makes his case rationally. Michael had too much class to name the producer and the show, but perhaps we can challenge those hosts who promoted Michael's earlier appearances to arrange new appearances immediately with him in order to "out" the one who can't deal with a rational difference in opinion.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 13, 2006 8:25 PM

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