Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ernie Pyle Lives On

Ernie Pyle was an American journalist who worked as a roving correspondent for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain from 1935 on. During World War II, while covering the North African, European and Pacific theaters of operation, he became America's most famous and beloved war correspondent. His sympathetic and caring reports of the ordinary GI made him a celebrated advocate and supporter of America’s fighting men.

His following was so great that in 1944, after he wrote a column urging that soldiers in combat get "fight pay" the same as airmen were paid "flight pay," Congress passed a law giving soldiers 50 percent extra pay for combat duty. That legislation came to be known as "the Ernie Pyle bill."

His articles were about the out-of-the-way places he visited and the people who lived there, written in a folksy style as if he was writing a personal letter to a friend. He wrote in an intimate style from the perspective of the common soldier instead of covering the goings-on of general officers and the operations of armies. You need only to read some of his columns such as Digging and Grousing, The God-Damned Infantry and The Death of Captain Waskow to see why he was so popular and beloved.

Today in Iraq the mainstream media's inability to cover this war accurately should be apparent to anyone who is familiar with the men and women on the ground and the dearth of stories that don’t involve a civilian or member of the coalition forces being blown-up, shot or executed. But fortunately, for those who care to look, there is at least one committed journalist who is able to produce week in and week out writing that hasn't been seen since that of Ernie Pyle. His name is Michael Yon.

If you want perspective in your war coverage, read Michael Yon. If you want the good, the bad and the ugly, read Michael Yon. If you want a reporter that puts his butt on the line the same as our soldiers do, read Michael Yon. If you want what the mainstream media is not giving you, read Michael Yon.

While the fact that he has little support outside of his own readers and has no large media affiliation is a devastating indictment of the mainstream media, Michael Yon is still the single best combat reporter on the ground in Iraq today.

NOTE: If you like what you read, please help Michael Yon continue reporting from Iraq by clicking the Support the Next Dispatch button on his website!