Skip to comments.American journalism's true colors
Posted on 10/02/2001 9:57:32 PM PDT by JohnHuang2
TownHall.com: Conservative Columnists: Michelle Malkin
QUICK LINKS: HOME | NEWS | OPINION | RIGHTPAGES | CHAT | WHAT'S NEW
Michelle Malkin (back to story)
October 3, 2001
American journalism's true colors
The media snobs are at it again. Wrinkling their noses at flag pins and patriotic ribbons. Tiptoeing around the word "terrorist." Preening about their precious "objectivity," "neutrality" and "independence." Hey, newsies: Get off your high horses. Impartiality is no excuse to behave like four-star ingrates.
Stacey Woelfel, news director at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Mo., directed his staff to "leave the ribbons at home" in order to show viewers "that in no way are we influenced by the government in informing the public." ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told The Washington Post: "Especially in a time of national crisis, the most patriotic thing journalists can do is to remain as objective as possible ... (W)e cannot signal how we feel about a cause, even a justified and just cause, through some sort of outward symbol."
Reuters infamously refuses to describe the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as terrorists. And the headline above Seattle Times executive editor Mike Fancher's column last weekend pronounced loftily: "We serve public best by clothing ourselves in neutrality, not pins."
These TV news directors and newspaper editors act like they're lethally allergic to red, white and blue. Do they plan on boycotting the Fourth of July, too? Wouldn't want to give the appearance of endorsing either side of that little armed struggle between Mother England and the rebel colonies, right?
Seriously, the hypocrisy is nauseating. "Ethical" news editors wave the high-minded banner of objectivity in wartime. But in peacetime, they don't think twice about allowing -- even encouraging -- their reporters to participate in such highly politicized activities as AIDS fund-raisers, race-based affirmative action lobbying efforts, anti-gun proselytizing, pro-abortion rallies and environmental propaganda.
The media backlash against public displays of patriotism reveals a lot about modern American journalism's true colors. Many of today's leading purveyors of journalism are simply embarrassed to identify with the average citizen. They view flag-waving as a maudlin exercise; gun ownership as fanatical; national pride as politically incorrect arrogance; and the U.S. military as an outdated, hierarchical, racist, sexist, homophobic and imperialistic institution.
Well, it's those brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives everyday so we can sit back and gaze at our navels. It's those intrepid soldiers who will leave their families, their security and their way of life behind to defend all of ours. What's wrong with showing a small token of solidarity and appreciation?
This country's greatest wartime correspondent, World War II newsman Ernie Pyle, embodied the spirit of journalist as compatriot. He didn't wear a tiny pin. He wore a uniform -- an Army private's uniform. Pyle went through basic training and braved the front lines in Britain, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Japan (where he was killed on the battlefield by a sniper's bullet to his head). Pyle's respect and gratitude for American soldiers was unabashed.
"I love the infantry because they are the underdogs," he wrote. "They are the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts, and they even learn to live without the necessities. And in the end they are the guys that wars can't be won without." Pyle wasn't ashamed to share his emotions, to call the enemy the enemy, and to show allegiance to our country. Instead of preaching from the ivory tower about the media's hallowed role in society, he always showed professional humility.
"You feel small in the presence of dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don't ask silly questions," Pyle wrote in his award-winning column, "The Death of Captain Waskow." He referred to American troops with a collective "we." And he lobbied successfully in his column for extra fight pay for combat soldiers.
The writing that earned Ernie Pyle a Pulitzer Prize in 1944 would have gotten him fired today. There will be no 21st century Ernie Pyles in our war on terrorism because modern journalists wouldn't be caught dead in a foxhole, wearing a military uniform, bravely recording and communicating the hopes, fears, dreams, anger and pride of the American soldier.
Oh, no. That might give -- heaven forbid -- the wrong impression.
Contact Michelle Malkin
©2001 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
QUICK LINKS: HOME | NEWS | OPINION | RIGHTPAGES | CHAT | WHAT'S NEW
For Education And Discussion Only. Not For Commercial Use.
Thanks for the post JH2. Not likely that very many newspapers will run this on their opinions pages. They can dish out their tripe, but would be unwilling to give coverage to someone who calls a spade a spade.
They failed Journalism 101, the whole mainstream lot. They lost all claim to the high road, bargained away in a deal with their liberal masters. Christopher Hitchins dared to break ranks, and we saw how they turned on him.
Sorry, big media, but the public watched you ruin your own credibility on this issue.
Anyone else know about this?
These days it's difficult to believe any "journalist" would attempt such a thing.
I did not know that we still have "journalists"! What a novel idea!
But I hardly think that a TV anchor in Columbus MO. is ever going to have that problem. Objectivity?? Hey, that train left the station back in 1992.
Rick McKay/AA-S Washington
Russell Johnson fights back emotions at a makeshift memorial on a hillside
overlooking the charred gap where a jetliner hijacked by terrorists crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
The media are lower than low. Their on-going "coverage" of this 911 business makes it plain even to people who didn't catch on during the Klinton years.
But there is another issue here about the "news" that's worth mentioning.
During the WTC attack and the _immediate_ aftermath, has everyone noticed how many flat out false stories the mainstream press put out and elaborated on?! The most obvious one that comes to my mind was that business about "Five fire fighters were found alive in an SUV today..." I saw this on more than one channel, and then the next day someone told me the whole thing just never happened -- there were no five fire fighters found alive in an SUV...
In the tournament chess world, there's a thing called "speed" chess. Players get just 2 or 3 minutes per game. Serious players often play speed chess in part because the way you react in a constant crisis, with no time to make "reasoned" judgements, reveals how well your brain works normally. (I think the idea is that for a professional, certain aspects of a chore have to become second nature.)
Differentiating fabrication from reality should come second nature to a professional reporter or editor. If our media had so much trouble telling fact from fiction in a clutch, if they couldn't separate actual reality from one or another kind of fabriction during a crisis, maybe they're not all that good at doing it normally. Maybe the "press" has become so entranced with its ability to "editorialize" that simple news-gathering doesn't matter much to them.
(An example that really bugged me is when CNN reported that some of the hijackers may have "confused identities" with the sons of a Saudi diplomat. What the hell is that -- how hard would it have been for CNN to call one or another Saudi contact and find out if the diplomat's sons were still alive or not?!)
Not that I'm suggesting violence or anything but in wartime treason is a capital offense.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.