Saturday, May 28, 2005

Integrity in journalism -- this is refreshing

High marks to Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe and Thomas Lipscomb of the Chicago Sun-Times for questioning a statement by Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley that the U.S. military is deliberately targeting journalists in Iraq.

This is similar to the comment made at the Davos conference earlier this year by CNN Exec Eason Jordan, who was subsequently fired. But this time someone actually has it on tape.

"Journalists, by the way, are not just being targeted verbally or politically. They are also being targeted for real in places like Iraq," said Foley. "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."

Both Bray and Lipscomb demand that Foley provide some proof. In response, Foley has quibbled and dissembled. First she tried to draw a distinction between the U.S. military and actual troops, as if the two are divisible. Then she refused to comment at all.

For Foley, who represents more than 35,000 journalists, to make such an remark with any substantiation is outrageous. For her do so after the Eason affair is incredible. I know this may seem harsh, and I don't throw this word around casually, but clearly she's an imbecile.

I don't know Lipscomb, but I've dealt with Bray a couple of times over the years and found him to be a dogged reporter capable of deep understanding of an issue and unafraid to ask probing questions.

In the wake continuing screw-ups and blatantly bad reporting (CBS, Newsweek, etc.), public trust in traditional media is sinking. If that trend is to be reversed it will take more reporters like Bray and Lipscombe who have the guts and integrity to question their own and demand a higher standard be applied to their profession.

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