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Military.com Reviews the Top Military Stories of 2013

...and it's more interesting than one would think...

by Daniel Johnson


I like to stay informed and mainstream media don't help, but the sources they interpret through their biases are often very informative, so I follow various newswires to see what's happening that doesn't get mentioned. 

A relatively benign story popped up that grabbed my interest, and following through links found a disturbing and growing trend in corporate media. The press release for Military.com's review of major stories for the year. The stories themselves are all worth looking into, but in this case I'm examing the press release itself. 

As the press release mentions at the end, "Military.com is the nation's largest military and veteran online news and membership organization serving active duty personnel, reservists, guard members, retirees, veterans, family members, defense workers and those considering military careers. Military.com enables Americans with military affinity to access their benefits, advance their careers, enjoy military discounts, and stay connected for life. Military.com is a business unit of Monster Worldwide Inc.".

So who is Monster Worldwide Inc? 

Monster is the parent company of Monster.com, the well known job search website. They branched off their original business with a series of advertising based tie in through a subsidiary called Affinity Labs. Affinity labs develops specific magazine style networking websites for particular professions, especially, it seems, public employees. Art Bistro for artists, PoliceLink for police, Chef'sBlade for chefs, GovCentral for government employees. So Military.com for service personel makes sense. 

But how does it makes sense for the armed forces to cooperate with a private company like Monster.com in using the problems of service personell in creating a revenue base instead of facillitating a network that would accomplish the same thing and keep them informed of things related to their job and the resulting lifestyle considerations through the military itself? 

What's also of note is the advertisers who make the Affinity Labs concept possible. Many of the ads on miltary.com are for post-military employment, and are organized through Monster's flagship job hunt website, the primary non-proprietary advertiser appears to be General Electric, who are a major military contractor, and other companies with direct ties to the military industrial complex are heavily featured. 

On PoliceLink.com the major advertisers are various schools offering police training, credit card ads but also video games. In particular, there was an uncomfortable chuckle when I saw the ad for World Of Warcraft on an article about gun fights. But my jaw dropped when I came across an article in the 'Police Link Bookstore', an Amazon kiosk, titled "The Police Officer's Bible". 

I initially thought it was a poorly named training manual but it was, in fact, an edition of the Christian scriptures with notes, introductions and highlighted segments meant specifically for police officers. 

The sales pitch gives a look into the kind of subtle and not so subtle indoctrination that has created the 'us vs them' culture of the blue wall, the ideology that underlines the anti-constitutional, anti-democratic and sometimes blatantly illegal worldview of police officers that we see every day in the actions of police officers in every part of the world and the lack of any meaningful repercussions from police disciplinary hearings. 

"The events of September 11, 2001 brought to our awareness the quiet heroism at work in both the large cities and the small towns and villages across the U.S. Every day police, men and women, put their lives on the line as servants of God, restraining the evil that seeks to destroy society. In the U.S. a police officer dies in the line of duty every 57 hours. Not only that, facing the worst elements in society exacts a toll both personally and in the family of police officers.

God’s Word provides both power and perspective for these who are on the frontlines of our cities and villages. The Holman Christian Standard Policeman’s Bible is designed specifically for these who serve in a clearly God-ordained role. It contains devotions, prayers, and suggested Scripture readings for a wide variety of occasions.

This is a perfect gift for a policeman who are from family or churches who want to stand with these who are called to risk so much." 

The articles in the magazine also convey a similar outlook, just as the articles in military.com promote hero worship of soldiers among soldiers. 

Other sites show a similar pattern, Monster using it's own companies to bring attention to it's flagship companies is to be expected, and the fact that major companies like the idea of being able to reach specific professions separately is a plus for any advertising based business, but it's part of a disturbing trend of increasingly internalized professions existing in an echo chamber media where important information on world affairs is filtered to fit the interests of that profession and the companies who benefit from them. 

Trying to educated the public about key issues effecting everyone will be harder and harder as more people read media targetting their specific speciality or interest, especially when those media are under control by people who stand to lose from any success we might have at uniting people in common cause against those same powerful financial interests. 

Here's the complete press release. All the stories are worth looking into if you're not familiar with them, some were widely covered outside military circles, particularily Bradley Manning and  spousal benefits for same sex partners, however most were not.: 

The collection features 20 stories that put the military and defense industry in the spotlight and includes bitter fights over new service medals, benefits for same sex partners and a high profile Army official being cleared of wrongdoing in a sex scandal.

"This was a significant year for defense stories that weren't just for military audiences. Many of these stories grabbed the attention of civilian and military alike and some, like the Navy Yard shooting, were stories that led the news for days on end," said Ward Carroll, Editor of Military.com

The full list includes the top 20 stories of 2013, but a peek at the top ten stories are below:

  1. Hagel Takes Helm at Pentagon after Bitter Fight
    In February, Chuck Hagel was sworn in as defense secretary - President Barack Obama's third in just over four years – and said that one of his highest priorities will be ensuring fair treatment of troops, veterans and their families. Republicans had opposed their onetime colleague, casting him as unqualified for the job, hostile toward Israel and soft on Iran.
  2.  IG Clears Allen of Wrongdoing in Email Case
    Marine Gen. John Allen, the coalition commander in Afghanistan, was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation into his email correspondence with a Florida socialite connected to the sex scandal involving former CIA Chief David Petraeus. The IG found no professional misconduct by Allen in the voluminous email traffic he kept up over several years with Jill Kelley, a Tampa socialite.
  3.  Case Dismissed Against IG Convicted of Sex Assault
    The conviction and sentence of the 31st Air Wing former inspector general convicted in November of sexual assault was set aside by the Third Air Force commander in February, releasing the fighter pilot from jail and reinstating him into the Air Force. A military jury had sentenced Lt. Col. James Wilkerson to a year in jail, forfeiture of all pay, and dismissal from the service.
  4.  Obama Signs New Stolen Valor Act
    President Obama signed into law the latest version of the Stolen Valor Act in June, which makes it a federal crime for people to pass themselves off as war heroes by wearing medals they didn't rightfully earn. The legislation passed both houses of Congress with overwhelming majorities.
  5. Rape Scandal at the Naval Academy
    A rape scandal involving a female midshipman and several members of the Navy football team led to issues of unlawful command influence in the military justice system – including that of commander-in-chief President Obama, who said he expected "consequences" for alleged inappropriate actions.
  6. Drone Service Medal Shot Down
    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel repealed a medal created just two months earlier to recognize the achievements of drone pilots and cyber specialists, ordering that a separate "distinguishing device" be used instead. Veterans groups complained that the medal would unfairly be ranked above the Bronze Star with Combat "V" and the Purple Heart.
  7. DoD Offers Benefits to Same-Sex Partners 
    The Department of Defense elected to extend the same benefits to same-sex married couples as it does to heterosexual married couples, from factoring in the spouse for housing allowance to burial at Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon announced in June.
  8. Bradley Manning Gets 35 Years in WikiLeaks Case
    Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was found guilty of passing classified intelligence to the website WikiLeaks, was sentenced to 35 years in prison and will be dishonorably discharged from the military. The 25-year-old soldier was sentenced in August at Fort Meade, Md. Manning admitted to leaking thousands of battlefield reports and diplomatic cables while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.
  9. Navy Yard Shooting
    A Navy contractor named Aaron Alexis was identified as the lone gunman in a shooting spree that took the lives of 12 employees at the Navy Yard in Washington DC in September. Although no motive was established for the horrific crime, the investigation revealed that Alexis, shot dead by police on site, had undergone mental health treatment in the months before the shooting.
  10. Syria Weapons Deal Averts US Military Action
    A diplomatic breakthrough on securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile averted the threat of U.S. military action and might have swung momentum toward ending a horrific civil war.  Marathon negotiations between U.S. and Russian diplomats at a Geneva hotel produced a sweeping agreement that will require one of the most ambitious arms-control efforts in history.

About Military.com

Military.com is the nation's largest military and veteran online news and membership organization serving active duty personnel, reservists, guard members, retirees, veterans, family members, defense workers and those considering military careers. Military.com enables Americans with military affinity to access their benefits, advance their careers, enjoy military discounts, and stay connected for life. Military.com is a business unit of Monster Worldwide Inc. More information is available atwww.military.com.


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