Foley’s Mission

Another apology. (Thanks, Instapundit.) Well, kind of apology; title is “Confronting Right-Wing Hysteria.” And its gist is that the “apology” concerns the niggling–an unimportance communicated by parentheses: “(Truthfully, I had to listen to a webcast of my presentation before I actually recalled what I said.)” So Linda Foley writes.

Her first two paragraphs define her audience:

Note to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (or whatever you’re calling yourselves these days): I was just re-elected president of The Newspaper Guild-CWA, and I’m not resigning.

That said, let me address the rest of this column to the people who really matter: the members of The Newspaper Guild.

The Guild’s mission is to “Raise the standards of journalism and ethics of the industry; Foster friendly cooperation with all other workers.” The welcome appears limited to the like-minded.

While she emphasizes the “freedom of association” (to unionize), she has little interest in the “open marketplace of ideas” — the purpose of a free speech & free press.

Sinclair aired its piece without me. I was unavailable. Likewise, I was unavailable to Fox News. (Four different Fox shows called in and/or faxed requests for me to appear.) And to Limbaugh, and several other talk-radio blabbers who peddle hate. And to “Swift Boat Veterans” promoters. And to the Moonies’ Washington Times, and to all those self-righteous bloggers who are so sure they have all the answers.

I gave one interview, to Editor & Publisher, figuring it was a credible publication that reached most Guild members in one way or another. But my cold shoulder didn’t stop the right-wing media machine from blowing its whistle and barreling down the tracks anyway. They had a video webcast clip of my remarks, and they could air them!

Well, I’m pretty fed up with 24-hour Michael Jackson followed by 24-hour Holloway, but exactly who understands the role of the investigative journalist – the person who refuses to give interviews and complains that that “cold shoulder” doesn’t stop others from using clips of her speech or the right wing media that faced with a stonewall, reports it? These (unlike. say, Moyers) were quite ready to provide a platform; we might assume their eagerness arises not just from their overpowering voices but from a greater confidence in their arguments.

Okay, I’m not a journalist. I have no idea who she represents. I can see who she thinks she represents and that may be accurate. It isn’t an accident that the two states to which I hold allegiance don’t celebrate Labor Day with much other than furniture sales. But the relation of her stands to ideology may inform the fact she has no harsh words for the network that may tell truth to power in America but for a dozen years did not in Iraq.

She understandably complains of hate mail & concludes:

That’s why I hope Americans who actually care about democratic discourse and public debate will support independent, fact-based journalism and professional journalists who strive to practice it. Please refrain from attacking reporters who are trying to get to the truth. Focus instead on re-creating a media climate where a future Woodward & Bernstein can investigate abuse and speak truth to power without fear of government retribution or an orchestrated deluge of hate mail calling for their demise.

She might well ask, when presented with piles of hate mail, Why do they hate me? Perhaps because what she said was an insult to our soldiers, our government, our administration? People like me tend to see it as an insult for we identify with these.

But is her position “reality-based”? If this woman is under the illusion that telling truth to power comes without costs, she doesn’t deserve to represent any one. I suspect her ideal is a government aligned with her that prosecutes those who send her hate mail. That isn’t exactly my idea of Utopia. That her comments did not seem to her objectionable comes from a lack of understanding of what “fact-based journalism and professional journalists” regard as important – facts.

She’s right, the costs shouldn’t be death. But that also depends on the choices the journalist makes. She observes that “Spanish journalist Jose Couso was killed when the Palestine Hotel, a known headquarters for many unembedded journalists covering the war prior to the occupation, was shelled by a U.S. tank on April 8, 2003.” I love the known headquarters for many unembedded journalists. He risked more than I have; I respect him for that. Still, I can’t imagine a war zone in which a King’s X provides sanctuaries for reporters (what ever their physical relationship may be to enemy snipers or whereever their sympathies might lie).

If people aren’t aware why others are angry, they really shouldn’t apologize. Dick Durbin isn’t. She isn’t. It’s best not to add insult to injury.

P.S. Here is the transcript (via World Net Daily) of Foley’s statement in :

“Journalists, by the way, are not just being targeted verbally or … ah, or … ah, politically. They are also being targeted for real, um … in places like Iraq. What outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there’s not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq.”

Foley continued, “They target and kill journalists … uh, from other countries, particularly Arab countries like Al -, like Arab news services like al-Jazeera, for example. They actually target them and blow up their studios with impunity. …”

If you want the whole 3:22, go to the ever helpful Jackson’s Junction for video as well. (This leaves little doubt who she meant.)

Her position here is not greatly different in tone but specifics are. For instance she now acknowledges that the insurgents are probably the greater danger to journalists:

An unacceptable number of journalists are being killed in Iraq, most of them by insurgents, many of them brutally. Fourteen of those deaths, involving U.S. forces, have been inadequately explained or investigated by the U.S. military. One, the April 8, 2003, bombing of the Al-Jazeera studios in Baghdad, never has been explained at all. As a result, many journalists around the world wonder if the U.S. military is targeting journalists.

2 thoughts on “Foley’s Mission”

  1. –That’s why I hope Americans who actually care about democratic discourse and public debate will support independent, fact-based journalism and professional journalists who strive to practice it. Please refrain from attacking reporters who are trying to get to the truth.–

    We are, that’s why we don’t support you and why you’re losing it.

    Who died and appointed her the arbiter of “truth?”

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