Until I joined the Fourth Estate, it was my experience that most soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines usually eschewed contact with members of the media. Regard for the potentates of the press used to be about equal to that of chiggers, ticks, scorpions and fire ants. When I was on active duty, I had an aerosol can of bug spray hand-labeled: “Reporter Repellant.” And if a military person had to co-habit space with any of these assorted insects, the last thing anyone wanted to do was to discuss politics. Things have changed.
Shortly before the presidential election, our Fox News team was embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Though nearly all acknowledged applying for absentee ballots, few of them were able to follow the presidential campaign or the debates, and fewer still had the time or inclination to speculate about what the outcome might be. Now that the issue is decided, they are no longer reticent about expressing their frustrations with the power brokers in Washington.
Over the course of the past month, our “Heroes Proved” book tour bus has visited more than two-dozen U.S. military installations and bookstores in nearby communities. It’s empirical data, but I estimate that over half of those lining up to buy this book are currently serving military personnel, veterans or their family members. They aren’t happy with what’s happening in our nation’s capital — or the way it’s being covered by the so-called mainstream media.