Big Brother Censorship
Obey your Masters in Government and stop
asking those embarrassing questions.
"Corruptus in Extremis" - Marine Corps leaders have ordered the independent Marine Corps Times newspaper removed from its prominent newsstand location at base exchange stores worldwide and placed instead in areas away from checkout lines, where it is harder to find and fewer copies are available.
The move raises troubling questions about motive and closely follows a directive prohibiting commanders from using budget funds to buy Marine Corps Times and a number of other publications.
Marine Corps Times is widely recognized for its comprehensive coverage of the Corps, focusing on everything from career tracks, to pay and benefits, family and spouse issues, and employment after leaving the military reports the Marine Corps Times.
Throughout much of the past year, the paper has published dozens of articles as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations the service’s commandant, Gen. Jim Amos, abused his authority to ensure Marines were punished for an embarrassing war-zone scandal. Numerous reports have captured the attention of mainstream media outlets, including NPR, CNN and Time magazine, among several others.
The Independent Marine Corps Times newspaper does not "conform"
to new Marine Corps message, brass says. Translation - The paper dared to
print stories critical of General Jim Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Spokesmen for the commandant’s office would not answer questions about whether Amos or his staff were aware of or involved in the decision to relocate the newspaper, but a source with knowledge of the new directive said it was approved with the commandant’s knowledge.
“It is no secret [in the Pentagon] that the commandant does not like Marine Corps Times,” the source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
“professionalize” the front of the exchanges.
Fiscal guidance for 2014, issued Oct. 22, specifically prohibits commands from using operations and maintenance funds for purchasing subscriptions to Marine Corps Times, which is part of the Military Times network and owned by Gannett, one of the world’s largest media corporations.
The order to move the paper from checkout areas came six weeks later. Distributors were given a variety of reasons. One was told it was due to business performance, though the paper is one of, if not the top-selling publications in Marine Corps exchanges.
Officials at Marine Corps Community Services and the Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division did not respond to multiple requests for sales data. However, information provided by Army and Air Force Exchange Services shows that Army Times and Air Force Times — Marine Corps Times’ sister publications — outsell the next publication 10-to-1.
|Duty, Honor, Country|
General John Quitman and a Battalion of Marines Entering Mexico City in 1847.
The Corps has a proud history. But the effective censorship of a newspaper
by the Corps is an act of dishonor and corruption.
“For any retailer to hide one of its best-selling products is just bad business. It obviously will hurt our newsstand sales, but it also hurts revenues to the Exchange,” said Peter Lundquist, Military Times’ vice president and general manager. “But I’m told this isn’t about business. Marine Corps Times helps Marines and their families stay informed about their service and their livelihood. We believe our independence is an asset to Marines. By what standard is Marine Corps Times not professionally oriented reading material, and who is setting that standard for Marines?”
Cindy Whitman Lacy, chief operating officer and deputy director of business operations for the Marine Corps’ Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division, offered another explanation to the head of circulation for Military Times. Marine Corps Times, she said, is not consistent with the Marine Corps “brand.”
While a provided statement said Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead, deputy commandant for Manpower & Reserve Affairs, “directed” the change, it does not say who made the decision.
Milstead “directed the Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division to determine how to professionalize the front areas of our stores,” Maj. Shawn Haney, spokeswoman for Manpower & Reserve Affairs, said in the statement. “As a result, the store entry merchandising strategy was reviewed and new directives were issued on how and where publications are to be displayed.”
Marine officials did not respond when asked if this meant Marine Corps Times is viewed as unprofessional.