Dear mainstream media,
I understand why you report as you do in both the Israel-Hezbollah conflict and the larger war on terror. You believe journalism requires a sort of elegant moral relativism, that telling "both sides of the story" is a necessary prerequisite to "objective" journalism. You don't believe that there can be an objective right or wrong; if you were reporting World War II today, you'd feel obligated to speak to front-line Japanese and Nazi soldiers and discuss the Allies' disproportionate response to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the invasion of Poland.
Since you don't believe in right and wrong, you also don't believe in a bright-line distinction between truth and falsehood. Terrorists are just as believable as American and Israeli officials. Everyone has an equally valid perspective on the truth. Of course, it doesn't hurt that terrorists are more than willing to fabricate juicy stories you can print on page one. "Terrorist Kills Civilians" simply doesn't have the same shock value as "American Soldiers Murder Family," even if the second headline is a complete and utter canard. It's easier to win a Pulitzer when you use the fertile imagination of terrorists as reliable sources.
Nonetheless, I feel compelled to offer some advice. It is quite obvious that you do not understand some basic concepts with regard to war. It is also obvious that you do not understand some basic concepts with regard to the state of the world. If you take any of this advice to heart, you may lose your shot at a Pulitzer -- but you may restore your own usefulness.
Lesson #1: In a war, civilians die and civilian property is destroyed. Since the days of Napoleon, armies have routinely drawn support from civilian populations. There is no way to win a war without also devastating a certain amount of the civilian population. The more popular the enemy force, the more devastation is necessary. We didn't simply defeat the Japanese military in World War II -- we absolutely devastated Japan's ability to make war.
Lesson #2: Terrorists are not fools. They recognize that you are unwilling to accept Lesson #1. They therefore melt into the civilian population, knowing that humane forces (read: American and Israeli) will attempt to avoid civilian casualties. If, however, humane forces have no choice but to kill civilians in order to kill terrorists, terrorists can rely on your sympathy.
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