Operation Mockingbird-Linda Baletsa

Operation Mockingbird
Linda Baletsa
Spratt & Co. LLC, Nov 14 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9780989446105

Miami Chronicle reporter Matt Connelly exposed the excesses of Commissioner Suarez before the pair got into a public brawl that ended the already shaky relationship the journalist had with his girlfriend Dana Fried. Suarez’s affluent political connections also harm Connelly’s position at the paper so he decides to cover the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but outside of the Defense Department’s embed program. After a stint in Fallujah he is in Kandahar when the Americans attack an alleged Taliban weapons stronghold killing many innocents and injuring Matt before the enemy captures him. A local helps him escape.

Back in Florida, his editor Kagan warns him the media has changed while he played war correspondent as you comply, die or quit. He further explains the paper’s new owner Armstrong Media demands upbeat compliant stories including fictional accounts treated as real news and not war horrors exposing the Pentagon propaganda like the false weapons claim that led to Mike’s shoulder injury and capture. Mike risks his life trying to tell the truth to an America not interested in honest reporting of dark news.

With a nod to the Yellow Journalism of the early twentieth century, Linda Baletsa provides a powerful exposé of the duplicity to a war-weary and scandal-scarred public by the industrial-government-media complex. Although heavy-handed with too much explanation (in fairness as expected by a twenty-first century version of Sinclair Lewis’ The Jungle), fans will relish Operation Mockingbird as those of us who care about the Fourth Estate providing real news (to include the depressing) are “Holding Out for a Hero” (by Bonnie Tyler) like idealistic Iron Mike.

Harriet Klausner

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