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Neither First Nor Last

The words of Linda Foley, President of the Newspaper Guild, are neither the first nor the last to reveal the truth about much of the media’s distorted reality. For the uninitiated, a quick review of Foley’s comments and attempts at cleaning up afterwards.

Last Friday, while speaking before the National Conference for Media Reform, Foley says:

"Journalists are not just being targeted verbally or politically. They are also being targeted for real in places like Iraq. And 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. I think it's just a scandal."


"It's not just U.S. journalists either, by the way. They target and kill journalists from other countries, particularly Arab countries, at news services like Al Jazeera, for example. They actually target them and blow up their studios, with impunity. This is all part of the culture that it is OK to blame the individual journalists, and it just takes the heat off of these media conglomerates that are part of the problem."

When contacted by Editor & Publisher on Thursday, Foley said:

"I was careful of not saying troops, I said U.S. military. Could I have said it differently? There are 100 different ways of saying this, but I'm not sure they would have appeased the right."

For other responses to Foley’s comments read Blackfive, This isn’t writing, it’s typing, Winds of Change and The Fourth Rail.

As for the Little Red Blog’s view, it’s simple. Foley lives in an alternate reality. In her reality, saying the U.S. military targets journalist doesn’t mean that members of the service, the troops, target journalist. With 100 different ways to say that the U.S. military purposefully and willfully targets journalist, Foley manages to believe that the military isn’t the troops. In her reality there comes a point when a member of the armed forces, formerly known as a troop, becomes part and parcel of the “U.S. military” and is no longer worth supporting. Perhaps it’s when he achieves rank or command, perhaps it’s when he supports the orders of his commander-in-chief, and perhaps we’ll never know. In the odd, and non-existent, reality of Linda Foley, you are a patriot by saying you support the troops, all the while deriding their service, incriminating their character and inciting those who seek to do them harm.

Foley clearly believes that those who are bothered by her statement are just members of the “right.” I would guess she said that with an appropriate level of disgust, the sort that makes you think she had to find the Listerine afterwards. As a member of the “right” it may be that my words are of little value and will be seen as the mere joining of a chorus under the direction of Karl Rove. Even if so, I have a little more to add.

I have not been quick to challenge the patriotism of the media elites who’ve made similar statements, such as Eason Jordan, or of those who’ve clearly taken a position in opposition to current U.S. policy in Iraq. As a general rule, I would rather give someone the benefit of the doubt. But there comes a point, a point when you realize that the language doesn’t mean the same thing to them as it does to you. Being misunderstood, aren’t we all on occasion, is one thing, but saying something until it’s noticed and then dodging the criticism rather than admitting the truth is not an endearing quality. I have a little advice for the next Foley, Jordan, Newsweek, Rather...

If you are a reporter, report the facts, anything else you offer is subject to being ignored, ridiculed and... remembered.


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Comments (4)


Well said! You are extremely on point in contrasting the "support the troops" slogan versus the reality of who the troops are. Ms. Foley's comments are effectively calling US soldiers murders. That is a strong accusation, especially one to through around from someone of her position without bringing proof forward.

I personally find a subtext to such remarks and assertions very troubling: When a person is killed the loss of life is horrid. But when a journalist dies it is as if their loss of life is somehow greater, as if their life had more value than that of a non-journalist.

All life is equal in value. Contrary to what the news media would otherwise suggest.

Obviously they don't teach logic, rhetoric, or epistemology in "J" school.

Thanks for this report from the suburbs of Orwell Town...she's creepy.

Good fisk.


> In her reality their comes a point

Trivial, but... wrong "there".

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Neither First Nor Last:

This page contains a single entry posted on May 20, 2005 10:58 PM.

The previous entry was The Council Has Spoken.

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