Saturday, June 11, 2005

Protecting Their Own: MSM Still Suppressing Linda Foley Story

In his June 9th column, devoted to stories that have been largely ignored by the Press, John Leo details the irresponsible accusations made by Linda Foley, president of the Newspaper Guild:
Another example: On a May 13 panel at the National Conference for Media Reform in St. Louis, Linda Foley, the national president of the Newspaper Guild, said that the U.S. military deliberately targets journalists, "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." We have heard this before. Eason Jordan, then a CNN executive, said something similar on a panel at Davos, the annual economic conference in Switzerland, setting off an enormous furor. Foley's comment was almost universally ignored by the news media. Thomas Lipscomb of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a column about it. More than two weeks later, Jack Kelly, national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Blade of Toledo, Ohio, said the Sun-Times (Lipscomb's column) was the only newspaper in the country to report what Foley said.

A column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press mentioned it, and so did an editorial in the Washington Times . Bloggers and The O'Reilly Factor brought important national attention. But a Nexis database search last week failed to turn up a straight news report on Foley's remark anywhere in America since Foley spoke on the panel. Remember, she is president of the union representing 35,000 reporters, editors, and other journalism workers. "Where is the professionalism and the authority that is our main claim to writing the indispensable 'first draft of history'?" Lipscomb asked in a follow-up piece in Editor & Publisher. He wrote, "The mainstream media couldn't be bothered to cover 'Easongate: the sequel.' " Foley sent a letter to the White House calling on it to pursue the "worldwide speculation that the U.S. military targets journalists and the media." In other words, she doesn't have to back up her charge, but the White House should start trying to prove that what she said is false.
It's not clear whether Leo is being intentionally ironic when he says that the administration has to prove Foley's charges false. But they should do more than that. They should bring charges of slander against Foley.

The Newspaper Guild should be ashamed to have Foley as a member, let alone president. The Press at large should be ashamed that so few of them have spoken out against Foley's groundless and insane charges.