Thursday, February 22, 2007

Oh MY GAWD!!!!


I heard back from Mr. Osman. I added the response and my reply to the bottom of the post.


That was my immediate reaction when I read this.
In a rare interview, a former recruiter steps forward to tell his story to Investigative Reporter Jim Osman. As a former Marine, Chris Dugan went to malls and local high schools to recruit new enlistees.
Chris Dugan is NOT a former Marine recruiter. He's a former Marine, who served from 1995-99, and spent time as the Corps' equivalent of HRAP. You have to scroll down to the middle of the page to see it.
We're talking to Chris Dugan, who was an assistant recruiter, was in the Marines...
Chris Dugan is NOT someone who grants "rare" interviews. In fact a quick Google search (The Blogspot Blog is just another guy named Chris Dugan. He address the confusion here.) reveals a full page of interviews and stories he's written. He's written or contributed to articles for The Village Voice and Socialist Worker Online. He's been an active participant in several anti-war and anti-recruiting activities functions. This is not someone whose interviews should be considered "rare". I'm willing to bet I could get an interview scheduled with him if I tried.

This is the second time in a week that the writer of a recruiting-related story failed to include information which is, in my opinion at least, painfully important to the story. This time Jim Osman from CBS 3 in Philly has done a huge disservice by not sharing the background, and possible motivations, of someone who is very important to his story. I don't know if Chris Dugan misrepresented himself to CBS 3's Investigative Team, but since it took me three seconds to find out about the guy it doesn't say a lot about the I-Team's ability. I decided I wanted to find out more so I emailed Mr. Osman to ask him those questions.

But enough about the one person who used his time on HRAP to become a semi-dubious celebrity, and for the actual story itself.
Because of our initial report, the Army has opened its own investigation into potential recruiting abuses.
If anyone says that a recruiter did something wrong the Army will investigate it. This is not a feather in the I-Team's cap, it's something that is required to happen if an impropriety is alledged.
In a rare interview, a former recruiter steps forward to tell his story to Investigative Reporter Jim Osman. As a former Marine, Chris Dugan went to malls and local high schools to recruit new enlistees.
I already touched on this earlier, but it bears repeating. CHRIS DUGAN IS NOT A FORMER RECRUITER. It's also not "rare" to be able to get him to speak about his time in "recruiting".
"If I recruited someone - that would count towards points that would help me become a sergeant before I get out of the marine corps. So I'm willing to manipulate the truth for these people," said Dugan.
I can't speak to the exact incentives of the USMC's recruiter assistance program, but I'm willing to bet that the "help me become a sergeant" part is a promotion from private to private first class. I seriously doubt that the actions of a Marine as a recruiter assistant three years earlier would have much bearing on a corporal's promotion to sergeant.
And because of an increase demand for more troops, Dugan says truth in recruiting is becoming a casualty of our times."You're a salesman, you have a quota," explained Dugan.
So, apparently, has truth in reporting. And Dugan is as qualified to talk about the difficulties of recruiting as I am to speak about the difficulties in Lasik surgery.
Half the recruiters misled that CBS 3 undercover researcher, told him they could bend the rules to get him in...or distorted his chances of dying in Iraq."Your chances of dying is like being out here. You know what I'm saying? You gonna die, you could fall off your bed and that's it," said a local recruiter.
That's not misleading, that's the truth. If someone tells me they won't join the Army because they might get killed, I'm going to talk with them about the relative risks of being in the Army and life in general. Yes, it's very unlikely you'll get blown up by an IED on the streets of Phoenix, but that doesn't mean there is no risk.
But Dugan wonders whether the military is truly intent on stopping questionable recruiting tactics - considering what we found in the Delaware Valley is the latest in a series of military recruiting abuses documented by journalists.
I'm sure Dugan does wonder that. He's anti-war and anti-recruiting. He'd "wonder" about what the military does because it's his agenda to do so. I'm going to go ahead and claim a "winner" for my predication earlier regarding journalists trying to set-up recruiters.
"When you're in the military it's about accountability that's the way treat soldiers so why aren't they held accountable," said Dugan.
Just because every recruiter who ever mispoke isn't taken out and fragged for honest mistakes doesn't mean they aren't "held accountable".
The ex-marine from our report who is speaking out against recruiting is now against the war in Iraq.
He's not "now" against the war. He's been against the war for as long as the war has been going on. He's been out since 1999.

I don't mind the story about recruiters possibly doing wrong. It's the job of journalists to find a story, and recruiters lying would be an important story. However, while doing this story, this reporter fails to fully identify someone who is very important to his subject. By omitting the background of Chris Dugan it's deceptive. Whether it's intentional or accidental is probably up to each of us to decide.



Thanks for writing to us. The reference to "rare" was in reference to that it isn't often we hear from someone who was on the inside - not a reference to the number of interviews he has done.
As for how long his service was... I don't think I've heard him represent that it was for two weeks. Nor have I seen any articles that either.
From what we know and what has been represented in other reporting on Mr. Dugan - he was privy to what goes on - on the inside - and was sent to local high schools and malls looking for prospects."

Thanks for writing to us. If you have anything additional please let me know.

This was my response to him.
Thank you for the response Mr. Osman.

Mr. Dugan doesn't state that his service in "recruiting" was for two weeks because that doesn't make him look like the insider he pretends to be. However in several interviews it is clarified that he was a "recruiter assistant".

If you scroll about 3/4ths of the way down you'll see the interviewer, Amy Goodman, state he was a "recruiter assistant".

The program which Mr. Dugan was involved in is called the Hometown Recruiter Assistant Program (HRAP). What the HRAP program does is, a person who just completed their initial training, is allowed to go home for two weeks and assist their local recruiters. They do not actually "recruit", what they do is they generate interest in their service by telling about their personal experiences in the military. They're not responsible for processing these people, or doing any recruiting-related activity other than making the initial contact. If the person asks a question about anything beyond the HRAP's personal experiences they're to tell them to talk with an actual recruiter. And it's something they do for a very short period (usually two weeks, rarely more, sometimes less).

Mr. Osman, you said in your email that you don't "often we hear from someone who was on the inside". Does that mean that Mr. Dugan approached you after the inital story had run? If so, did you ask to see any proof of his claimed experience as a Marine Corps recruiter? His DD214 would show he completed the recruiter training course, or orders assigning him to duty as a recruiter. If you were to relate Mr. Dugan's experiences to anyone who was in recruiting they'd quickly realize what he was actually doing.

If military recruiters are breaking the law in their activities, or misleading people about the service, then it needs to be exposed. However your update to the original story misleads your viewers and readers. Mr. Dugan is not a "insider" who is "telling it like it is." He's embellishing his service in an attempt to make himself an authority on a subject which he knows nothing. I'd like to think that after people like Jesse MacBeth and Lauro Chavez had been exposed for lying about their service to further their agenda, that more attention would be paid to military "insiders".

Again, I appreciate the time you took to respond to my concerns. I hope you have a great day.

John Bradshaw
I'm beginning to think that the inclusion of Chris Dugan was because his dialogue fit perfectly with what Mr. Osman wanted to tone of the story to be, regardless of his qualifications to make such statements. If Mr. Osman responds I'll be sure to share the response. I'm very curious to see what sort of vetting was done on Mr. Dugan, and whether he was included in the story because he approached CBS 3 or because they sought him out.


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