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Arment Dietrich

Cover up: Bad. Getting caught nationally: Worse.

By: Arment Dietrich | April 8, 2007 | 
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So your friend George borrows your favorite CD, tape, or vinyl record depending on your age and does not tell you when George loses it.  George does not tell you right away because he does not want to upset you.  Then George tells you that the CD is missing, but it was actually your dog named Walter who took it. Finally, George says it was him and he is terribly sorry.  Oops.  This is a small situation.  It involves you, your friend, and a small cover up. 

Now let us change the players.  This time it involves Pat Tillman, his family, and the United States Army.  And it is not a CD, it is a life.  And the cover up is huge.  Pat Tillman was a professional football player who joined the Army and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.  At first, Tillman’s family was not told about the death.  When they finally were told, it was a fabrication.  The Army lied about how Tillman was killed.  They publicized it as a “heroic” death.  After investigating, reports came out that Tillman was killed by friendly fire.

The Army just conducted an investigation, of an investigation, about an investigation, dealing with the investigation, of Pat Tillman’s death.  It was the fifth probe all together, and now the Tillman family is searching for a Congressional hearing.  The investigation being led by the military is now saying that Tillman’s commanding officers knew he was shot by friendly fire almost instantly.  So how did the “killed by enemy fire” story unfold? 

Mary Tillman, Pat’s mother, is outraged and went on ESPN’s Dan Patrick radio show to express her feelings.  She said the Army used their public relations machine to promote the war and help with recruitment efforts.  She also comments on the claim that Tillman was purposely shot.  Mary Tillman her family has been told so many stories that she’ll probably never know the real truth.

“It became very obvious early on that they (the Defense Department) were lying to us. It was quite clear they were only telling one side of the story and they weren’t addressing the other side.”  -Radio Ink

That’s not what public relations does.  Aren’t we supposed to provide the truth?  I don’t think the commanding officers should be the only ones in trouble.

Mary Tillman hits the point home with this comment:  “These cases will further establish a pattern—now well-known by the American public—of spin and deception by the Pentagon and the administration it serves,” –World Socialist Web Site

This is PR spin at its lowest form.  First, they lie to the family.  The Army did not want to send the Tillmans the wrong message.  Then the Army lied to us.  They wanted to use the “heroic” story to reach out to more recruits.  Now there is so much cover up and conspiracy theory that the truth has been lost.  I think it is unjust for the Army to take a horrible story and lie about it to make it seem like Tillman died FOR his country.  He died BECAUSE of his country.

I hope within time the Army tells the real story.  Until then, Tillman’s death is a travesty.  How can a PR professional morally make a decision to fabricate a story and publicize it to the world?  I’d like to meet that person.  Maybe use their cold heart to fix this global warming problem.  (Note to Bush: look into that.) – Andrew Smith

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