It’s hard to say just what Willie and Joe would make of the failed plan to shut down the military’s independent news source — Stars and Stripes.
Like most American troops, the World War II grunts made famous by cartoonist Bill Mauldin’s pen would probably keep marching forward, keep fighting and keep doing their jobs for their country.
Willie and Joe were savvy to the reality of military life. Keep expectations low and you’re less likely to be disappointed.
Well, to Willie and Joe and the rest of the men and women who honorably serve this country at great risk and sacrifice, here’s one time when things broke your way. The military’s independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes, will publish another day.
President Donald Trump flip-flopped on his own budget plan over the weekend and announced that Stars and Stripes would get funding that had been stripped from the Pentagon’s budget.
The newspaper is owned by the U.S. military but has editorial independence. Its $15 million annual subsidy amounts to a rounding error in the Pentagon’s $686 billion budget from last year. Yet the paper by troops, for troops focuses on areas of importance to members of the military like no other publication.
The paper has a proud history dating to World War I. Its editor of that era, Harold William Ross, went on to found The New Yorker magazine. Many other famous journalists followed. By the time Willie and Joe appeared in World War II, winning Mauldin the Pulitzer Prize, it was a crucial news source producing editions around the world.
No one doubts that the digital age has changed the way people receive and consume information and that has impacted Stars and Stripes just like it has impacted every other newspaper.
But it’s harder to make a serious argument that the quality of information flooding through social media matches the journalism of Stars and Stripes, where facts and objective reporting still matter.
Trump has been no friend of the news media, and plenty would argue the media has been no friend to him. Given his opinion of the press, it was easy to see the decision to defund Stars and Stripes as another swipe.
His sudden reversal over the weekend came as he was under fire for a report in The Atlantic that claimed he disparaged those who have served and sacrificed for this nation. If there is a connection and the result of The Atlantic piece is that Stars and Stripes keeps publishing, then good has come of it.
Our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen deserve an independent paper devoted to them and the important work they do to keep us safe and at peace.
— The Dallas Morning News