Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stars and stripes

One of the earliest classes in military basic training is "Rumors and Propaganda". Based on the premise that whoever knows what is going on isn't telling you or anyone you know, so keep your nose to the grindstone and do your job. Still rumors are rife due to the uncertainty which surrounds military life, and the not so so hidden agenda of the armed forces to make conditions appear to outsiders in any way the military wants to.

Lost in all the excitement of the past week was our celebration of the 150th anniversary of Stars and Stripes, the US military daily newspaper. Born on November 9, 1861 by members of several Illinois regiments then bivouacked in Bloomfield, Missouri who finding an empty newspaper office (that most likely would have been a secessionist paper on hiatus while Yankee soldiers were nearby) took matters into their own hands by creating a newspaper about their activities. Stars and Stripes has published in every war since.

Today, Stars and Stripes is a daily publication, published by but editorially separate from the Department of Defense, targeted to military service members, their families, DOD employees and its contractors.

Although published by the DOD, unlike command publications which toe the party line, Stars and Stripes uniquely has its editorial independence and guaranteed Freedom of the Press status established by law. An ombudsman representing readers regularly reports to Congress. Printed in several editions around the globe, and on line it's a pretty good read.


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