It’s Not A Motorcycle, Baby, It’s A Chopper

This came up in a discussion elsewhere, so I would like to present the question to those more expert than myself: Is there something… off about the helicopter on the cover of Time magazine?

Time Magazine - 24 July 2007

Because it looks a lot like one of these:

Czech Hind

Which would be something of a problem, since that’s an Mi-24 “Hind” — a Russian helicopter — metaphorically pulling the USA out of Iraq.

I’m no expert, of course, but the protuberances on the front and rear combined with the distinctive landing gear don’t match any American birds I can recall. Is there an actual, you know, American military helicopter with a similar silhouette that I’m forgetting? Or is this just one more example of the MSM’s lack of attention to detail in military matters?

UPDATE (James Joyner): Dodd is making a very small point, although one I’ve made before as well: That mainstream media coverage of military matters often gets even basic things wrong.

There’s nothing nefarious about it; it’s just a matter of competence. The fact that the cover art designer got the clip-art wrong isn’t that big a deal. The fact that none of TIME’s editors and other staff noticed, though, says something. The same was true in the recent case of NPR’s repeatedly referring to the 1st Armored Division as the 1st Army Division. It’s not only annoying to those of us who care about such things, it shows how little interest those covering the war have in understanding the men they’re covering.

Yes, the press is run by fallible humans and they’re naturally going to make mistakes. At the same time, they don’t seem to get basic facts about the operation of arcane rules in Congress wrong. And they go out of their way to make sure they don’t offend foreigners by pronouncing their names in an Anglicized fashion.

It’s not just the press, either. Movie makers do it constantly. Politicians, too, as the repeated use of images of Canadian soldiers by Democratic operatives in making political points about American military demonstrates.

Then again, these are the same people who repeatedly confuse “semi-automatic” weapons with fully automatic machine guns.

FILED UNDER: Media, Military Affairs, , , , ,
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.

Comments

  1. Scott_T says:

    I’ll agree with you, it’s not a US chopper.

    Not a UH-60 (Blackhawk), AH-64 (appache), UH-1 (huey), AH-1 (cobra), OH-1 (kiowa recon chopper), CH-53 (seaking?), CH-47 (double blades, no tail) or variants (ie MH-60).

    But it gets the point across, right?

    Fake, but accurate.

  2. Neil Lawrence says:

    It’s definitely a Russian Hind attack helicopter. I believe it’s the E-model. Maybe the Iraqis have some that are still flying and the photo is suggesting they’ll help us leave.

  3. Grewgills says:

    The graphic artist that designed the cover probably found it to be the most visually appealing clip art helicopter easily available. Is this really an issue for anyone?

  4. Dale says:

    I’m in the Marine Corps and I don’t necessarily take offense to this. I don’t believe that Time is necessarily implying anything here. It is however yet one more example of how little attention to detail the media pays to the stories they write. This is especially true when it comes to military matters.

  5. Capt. S says:

    It looks like it’s a photoshopped A-6 to me. IMO The artist took a few liberties to enhance his idea about the proportion and placement of helo on the Time cover.

  6. jeff b says:

    You guys sure know how to host a substantive debate. I’m sure the most important question relating to our adventure in Iraq is what make and model of helicopter was pasted onto the cover of Time. This is the kind of trivialization of major issues that is an embarrassment to public discourse.

  7. Ugh says:

    Or is this just one more example of the MSM’s lack of attention to detail in military matters?

    The media gets lots of things wrong in everything they cover, it’s not a thing unique to military matters. They’re imperfect, like everthing else.

    Plus, what jeff b said.

  8. Bithead says:

    It would have been far more appropriate had they use the solo one of the last chopper of the Vietnam, with Vietnamese civilians risking life and limb to avoid the bloodshed John Kerry claims never happened.

    But then they’d consider that propaganda, wouldn’t they?

  9. Dodd says:

    This post isn’t about Iraq. It’s about general media ignorance of military matters, something that manifests itself repeatedly in large and small ways, yet which they show not the slightest sign of taking any steps to fix.

    The extent to which this ignorance of the subject raises questions about their accuracy in other more substantive matters is left an as exercise for the reader.

  10. Micah says:

    Definately a Hind.

  11. jeff b says:

    You “left it as an exercise for the reader” because you don’t have any evidence to back up your ridiculous claim. Please explain how the intern who does the cover art for Time has any impact on the journalist who writes the story.

    In fact, please explain any substantive criticism you have about the cover story. In what way is the journalist’s ignorance expressed? How would the story have been improved if the intern doing the cover art knew the difference between a Hind and a Chinook?

    Did you read the story, or did you just look at the pictures?

  12. My goodness, Dodd, how dare you question the dominant narrative. Isn’t it amazing that the usual suspects can’t say something as simple as, “that looks like an error,” but instead have to question your questioning of the narrative.

    They are just so goddamn precious.

  13. Bithead says:

    You “left it as an exercise for the reader” because you don’t have any evidence to back up your ridiculous claim. Please explain how the intern who does the cover art for Time has any impact on the journalist who writes the story.

    What is the job of an Editor, Jeff?

  14. First off: nothing wrong with noting an error.

    Second: this error really doesn’t change the basic purpose of the cover, which is to evoke the overall notion of withdrawal and to specifically send the mind back to Viet Nam and the last helicopter out.

    Third: errors are all around us all the time, and the only time you will really notice them is if the error is made in an area in which you personally have some expertise. I frequently notice errors in the press and even in scholarly books about Colombia and Latin America, but surely see things daily about, say, Asia that I don’t realize are errors.

    Further, we all make errors, as I know I do on my blog all the time–although usually it isn’t something huge, but every once in a while someone points out something that I really need to address (and I don’t just mean typos, which are constant).

    It’s trite but true, nobody’s perfect and therefore the issue boils down to whether the error in question really matters or not.

  15. What a sad, pathetic stretch of a post. Because, you know, obviously if you can’t get your clipart exactly right, then you certainly can’t understand anything and want the terrorists to win.

    Grow up.

    (Note to James. Keep crap like this off your blog. It’s unbecoming.)

  16. Dodd says:

    Isn’t it amazing that the usual suspects can’t say something as simple as, “that looks like an error,” but instead have to question your questioning of the narrative?

    Not to mention projecting all sorts of wild pronouncements I haven’t actually made into my post. I pointed out something that looks like an error but expressly noted that I wasn’t entirely positive and was looking for feedback. I noted later that the error does, once again, raise the question of media accuracy of military matters, but also expressly noted that how much it does so is really up to the person reviewing it.

    I thought the rather flippant title would inform people that the post isn’t really all that serious but, somehow, it apparently means I think that journalists want the terrorists to win. This post is “sad and pathetic” but there’s nothing “unbecoming” at all about suggesting that Bush likes taking it up the a**…. Methinks someone really needs to attend to the beam in his own eye and leave the mote in mine be.

    These people don’t raise holy hell when James posts about Paris Hilton, but this post is “crap” “unbecoming” the blog? I must’ve touched a nerve.

  17. My post was clearly a joke. Yours was passing itself off as legit criticism of the *OMG* dreaded MSM. At least when James writes about Paris Hilton he’s writing about something that’s in the news and not, you know, not some delusional conspiracy theory.

    *sigh*

    Time Magazine has a red cover. Ever notice that? They must be communists!

    Which, of course, really goes with that Russian helicopter which, while in no way relevant to, well, anything, some low paid graphic artist was clearly supposed to recognize!! LOL!

    Dodd is the new Charles Johnson!! He exposed Copter-gate!! Nice job!!

  18. Dodd says:

    Goodness, but you are a tendentious bore. And awfully determined to impute nefarious motives where none are even suggested. As my time will be far more productively spent reading Harry Potter than bandying crooked words with a witless worm, I am now finished with this discussion.

  19. Grewgills says:

    Dodd,

    The Republican narrative of the MSM is a part of the Left and we all know they don’t know or care about the military is why you get the responses you do when you write,

    Or is this just one more example of the MSM’s lack of attention to detail in military matters?

    I think you realize this even if it was not an intentional tweak on your part.