The WaPo thought Mattis was a retired BG


The Washington Post has now corrected its error but the newpaper's lead editorial today was originally published with a headline that described General James Mattis as a "retired brigadier general."  This error was repeated in the text. 

Pictures of Mattis in uniform have been everywhere in the media for weeks.  Count'em folks!  One…  Two …  Three … Four!  Four stars means a full general.  A brigadier general wears one star, one star.

The editorial board of WaPo doesn't know the difference between a brigadier general and a full general?  The WaPo doesn't have proof readers and fact checkers?

IMO the WaPo is invincibly  and arrogantly ignorant of anything to do with the military.  pl

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36 Responses to The WaPo thought Mattis was a retired BG

  1. johnT says:

    We were (are) just fodder to the financial and political aristocracy. An old Gunny pic may have elicited the same error.

  2. BabelFish says:

    Even people of good intent just have given up on being correct. Peter King, an NFL writer whose prose I enjoy, referred to a sports job as hard but not as hard as being a sargeant in Seal Team Six. I had to pause to wonder about the possibility of a Msrine enlisted ST6 member but wrote to Pete to point out that had he asked he would have learned that they were probably all petty officers or chiefs plus their officers.
    IMO, the people at organizations like WaPo, NBC news et al just do not care enough to be accurate in details.

  3. Tyler says:

    And to think that Bezo’s blog had the chutzpah to publish a website declaring anyone that didn’t toe the Borg line “fake news”.

  4. J says:

    I reached the conclusion several years ago that both the WaPo (post Watergate) and NYT couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if their lives depended on it. Both IMO WaPO and the NYT are rags with no merit.

  5. jayinbmore says:

    The final sentence would lose no accuracy if “to do with the military” were removed.

  6. Lemur says:

    Col., I heard a theory yesterday that Defence ultimately wields more clout in an administration than State because it has more resources at its disposal. So I’d be interested in your assessment of how Mattis would function under Trump.
    From my limited knowledge of his foreign policy ideas, he was in favour of going into Syria, but on the other hand is skeptical of the Israeli bias in US dealings in the ME.
    From a purely military perspective, he gives the impression he’s Patton reincarnated.

  7. Aka says:

    Considering that WaPo last week published and supported that insane website (PropOrNot) with the fake list about so called “fake news”, I’m not so sure about bellow statement.
    “IMO the WaPo is invincibly and arrogantly ignorant of anything to do with the military.”
    On a side note, I was first amazed why SST did not got in the list. Most probably, Colonel Lang’s reputation prevented that.

  8. Dubhaltach says:

    Colonel invincible ignorance about anything to do with the military and civvilian arrogance (and contempt) for anything to do with the military is unfortunately neither confined to the Washington Post nor to the USA.

  9. turcopolier says:

    You are right. The disproportionate resources of State and DoD renders State a bit of a eunuch in the system. I think Trump is strong willed and some of the people now being appointed may not last very long if they cross him. pl

  10. LondonBob says:

    Well Niall Ferguson was saying this in an article in Sunday Times today, worrying that it was an article praising him by the arch neocon Ferguson. We will see, superficially his opinions on Iran and Russia are worrying, and he seems to prefer war war to jaw jaw.
    Very interested to see who Trump goes for at State, Bolton would be deeply concerning but Corker, Rand Paul seems to like him, or Dana Rohrabacher would nicely balance things out, I think.
    Anyway we all knew personnel would be problematic, however I am sure people will emerge and take the place of those who pursue their own, or others’, agendas.

  11. Lemur says:

    Good article here by Paul Craig Roberts asking us to understand Trump’s position despite our reservations about his appointments.
    He makes a very valid point that if Trump doesn’t receive support from his base (or at least people interested in peace) for appointing people he has no option but to appoint, the REAL snakes will use that weakness to worm they into the administration. So that’s a 180.

  12. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “Count’em folks! One… Two … Three … Four!” I count eight stars, making him a Chief Master Gunny General of the Marine Corps.

  13. Clonal Antibody says:

    I believe that this was deliberate on part of WaPo.
    A retired one star general is bad news. You just don’t get retired one stars. You will never get promoted to General Command if you are anywhere close to retirement age. You have to be able to get to four star before retirement. That leaves just a few reasons for retiring at the one star level – all of them bad.
    This was an attempt by WaPo to portray Trump as being incompetent.

  14. The Beaver says:

    @ LondonBob
    Trump is widening his search: Romney and the Mayor are out – in potentially Robert Gates and Jon Huntsman

  15. Laura says:

    Clonal, I think that Occam’s Razor just said they screwed up. It happens. Conspiracies happen less often. I kind of wonder how all the various “star levels” will play out if all of these guys end up in the same cabinet room. None of them will forget “how many stars on thars” that is for sure. And all of the animosities generated by climbing up the various command ladders won’t disappear either.

  16. Clonal Antibody says:

    I would have agreed with you if the history of the last year had not happened.
    WaPo has been extremely biased in coverage, being particularly in favor of Clinton, and against Trump and Sanders. There have been frequent “mistakes” of the type I just pointed out – that painted both Trump and Sanders in a bad light, however that same could not be said about the Clinton coverage. These “mistakes” occur all too often when one becomes a political hack.

  17. MRW says:

    Any paper that dignifies Jennifer Rubin with a column has a major black eye, imo.

  18. scott s. says:

    Clonal, this is not true. The highest regular promotion is to two stars. All three and four star jobs are nominative — if you get picked for the position you get the “stars” of the position, and when you leave you revert to two stars, unless allowed to retire at the higher grade. An at least in the US Navy many specialties don’t have any positions at the higher-star levels.

  19. FB Ali says:

    I agree about the Paul Craig Roberts article – excellent! Especially in the current partisan mudslinging and hype.
    Thanks for the link.

  20. Eliot says:

    “I reached the conclusion several years ago that both the WaPo (post Watergate) and NYT couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if their lives depended on it. Both IMO WaPO and the NYT are rags with no merit.”
    I don’t know if it was better, once upon a time, but there appear to be very few real experts in the media this days. Instead you have generalists passing judgment on things they don’t even begin to understand. Most alarmingly, they don’t appear to understand how little they know.
    – Eliot

  21. fasteddiez says:

    Have you heard this variation?…..couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the bottom of the heel.

  22. turcopolier says:

    My Dear Old Dad liked that one. It was a version of LeaNder’s “nitwit.” another of his was “go soak your head in a barrel of horse piss and see if you can sprout a new set of brains.” But, then, he was an old horse soldier. pl

  23. LeaNder says:

    Laura, I more generally spoken would agree.
    On the other hand shouldn’t the ‘editorial board’ have access to all type of data sources and fact checkers? At least if a fast Wikipedia check would have done the same? No need to check basics, if your short note centers around one specific member of the military? Wouldn’t it be basic respect to get matters right?

  24. LeaNder says:

    CA, I think that DT* invited a little enmity, after all it guarantees attention.
    But what was somewhat startling, was to what extend the media both here and to the extend I witnessed in the US just as commenters here focused on what feels irrelevant from a slightly widened perspective.
    * hypothesis. Sanders was more easy to deal with based on well established narratives in the US????

  25. Vic says:

    News used to be considered a public service (the 4th estate). Today it is a profit center for multinational corporations and worse; an influence operations machine for government and the multinational corporations. Network news is even worse, 90% of it is talking heads interviewing other talking heads.
    News is taking on the same characteristics as our economy in general. It is selling mass produced cheap crap and selling to a mass market. Staffs and bureaus have been cut back to save overhead costs, they use a lot of interns, new hires and temps to cut costs. They have tried to make up for this my monitoring and using data from Blogs and tweets and them wonder why it is crap.
    Media has dug itself into a hole from which they may never get out of. Most of us have given up on them. We now have to preview a large number of sources to try and figure out what is happening.

  26. LeaNder says:

    All three and four star jobs are nominative …
    Like what? Like being appointed to director of DIA and/or head of the department of defense? …

  27. turcopolier says:

    “head of the department of defense” normally a civilian. There is a long list of jobs that carry with them 3 and 4 star rank. pl

  28. LeaNder says:

    thanks Pat.
    On first sight at least four surface that weren’t civilians or had a military background. Cheney didn’t have military experience, Rumsfeld neither; while e.g. Robert Gates and Chuck Hagel definitively both had served in the military before.
    On the other hand, I do not want to seriously dig into the historical genesis of appointing civilians to the job …

  29. turcopolier says:

    Gates was a captain in USAF. Hagel a sergeant in the Army. Rumsfeld was a lieutenant in the navy. None of that counts. they were not career military. Marshall was different. He was the US equivalent of a field marshal. pl

  30. LeaNder says:

    thanks, asking stupid questions or making stupid comments helps.
    Marshall drew my attention. I was mistaken about another one, Forrestal, on second check.
    In any case, I realized it does not work satisfactorily with checking Wikipedia. He retired as Lt. General? That’s three stars.
    I am a bit puzzled by Cold War Zoomies reference to the eight stars above. Which side of the shoulder signifies what? To start with. But then gave up on a not easy check via Wikipedia. Not that this experience is unfamiliar. Master Gunner seemed to be related to different sign. … 😉

  31. turcopolier says:

    Forrestal was not a career navy man. pl

  32. Freudenschade says:

    I sense a lot of anger toward the newspapers by other posters. I pity them instead. Very early in my career, one of my large clients was the Chicago Sun-Times. I saw first hand the gutting of their budgets when Craig’s List and others took over the classified business, then again later when Politico, blogs, and social media gradually pared away opinion, influence and prominence in turn. The great journalists and editors I know have all moved on to more specialized publications or work now as researchers. The newsroom just isn’t an attractive place to work anymore. Is it any wonder that expertise, critical thinking ability, and obsessive editorial attention to detail is in such short supply these days?

  33. gowithit says:

    Well, moving on to Gen Flynn, AM Joe spit out his revulsion of Gen Flynn’s sex-exploitation tweets this morning. Tempest in a coffee cup?
    The General and now his son, Chief Aide to the General, continue to tweet out the “child abuse” scandal at DC’s Comment Ping Pong that the Clinton clan is accused by far, far off the right wall reported
    Now, an unhinged idiot goes into the place and fires off a gun!
    thanks a lot Gen Flynn and son!

  34. Valissa says:

    Trump Considering Jon Huntsman For State; ‘Romney Has Definitely Fallen Back’
    If Trump wants someone with experience dealing with China, then Huntsman would be a good pick. Of all the major candidates under consideration so far, he could be the best fit for Trump.

  35. LeaNder says:

    I suppose time to stop babbling once again. I seem to start mixing up the characters in the larger card-dealing-game, if I may call it that. In this case Flynn and Mattis. Sorry.
    My summary: the signs concerning Russia are not bad, hopefully two other issues Iran, China don’t turn out as bad as they felt on first sight. … concerning Israel/Palestine, the two state solution seems to be almost dead for longer now. In any case business as usual hardly made much sense…
    There definitively are some people, I would prefer to not see (again) in the next US administration.

  36. D.R.Gardner says:

    After Scotty Reston retired from NYTIMES it became a Zio propaganda brochure

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