Monday, February 27, 2006

The Miami Herald's Man In Iraq

Say hello to the Miami Herald's newest foreign correspondent, Dexter Lehtinen, who is writing dispatches from "the front lines" of Iraq and Afghanistan for the newspaper. The first deception is that Lehtinen isn't on the front lines: He's traveling with a Congressional delegation that isn't about to see a glimpse of combat. But there's bigger problems with Lehtinen's work for the newspaper.

Ol' Dex is a former state house member and U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida and the husband of Republican Miami congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Ileana was a cheerleader for the Iraq War and her husband also happens to be a right-wing ideologue who played a key role in the dirty campaign to paint John Kerry as a traitor for his anti-war stance in the early 1970s.

Lehtinen, a Vietnam vet and retired commando, spoke at politically charged rallies (the photograph above shows him on C-Span at a "Kerry Lied While Good Men Died" event) and spent more than $50,000 of his own money to publish anti-Kerry advertisements in military publications. "This is the portrait of a man who has failed to come to terms with his treacherous past," Lehtinen wrote in the ads.

It's a free country -- and Lehtinen certainly knows the value of good propaganda. Only now the Herald is publishing his jingoistic crap as journalism in its pages. In its "About Dexter Lehtinen" explainer, the Herald doesn't mention his political activity or his wife's support of the war. So the uninformed reader sees the piece headlined "Detainees Treated Well In Facility" and lines like "This is a military to make America proud," without knowledge of his extreme political bent. It's the Herald's equivalent to Fox News' "War Stories with Oliver North." Who's the Herald's next hire, G. Gordon Liddy?

But I've got to say that some of Lehtinin's writing is hilarious. The piece posted Sunday was all about the importance of roads in Afghanistan. To illustrate his point, Dexter wrote: "The 1960s movie The Graduate will always be remembered for one word -- 'plastics.' The new college graduate was told the future was in 'plastics.' So, too, Afghans see their future in one word, and the recent [congressional] visit will be remembered for that one word -- 'roads.'"

He must have missed how that line about plastics was meant to sum up the corruption and pointlessness of adult life in America.

Mostly, though, Lehtinen's stuff is just depressing. He passes almost all of his observations on the Iraq War through his Vietnam prism, which is sadly appropriate. Unfortunately this stuff isn't appropriate for the Herald.

(More To Come Today)


Anonymous Barbra Ganouche said...

Your criticisms of the Herald would have more credibility if New Times didn't continually fire cheap shots and never have anything good to say about the paper.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Pisces Trucker said...

What's not to believe about the Lehtinen thing?

12:27 PM  

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