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Newspaper Guild leader Linda Foley reflects Modern Journalism’s confusion about whose side they are on 3/7/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in NewspaperGuild.
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In her reelection campaign for president of the newspaper industry’s largest union, Linda Foley is accusing her opponent of not showing sufficient support for freedom of the press. Her charges relate to an incident in 2005, when Foley accused the U.S. military of trying to kill journalists deliberately. Her opponent indicated he would never have said what she said, ostensibly because Foley did not back-up her serious accusation that U.S. troops were murderers with a single shred of evidence. Since journalists are allegedly obsessive about only spreading verified facts, you might think Foley would want to avoid bringing-up her irresponsible statements, rather than use them as a campaign issue. Clearly, something is seriously wrong here.

The problem is that in Modern Journalism “freedom of the press” is not about the freedom of all Americans to speak and publish their thoughts, or even about Americans at all. It is all about them — the freedom of journalists themselves, from whatever country they come from, to do whatever they want to do. In fact, she was condemning losses among journalists from Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV, which are based in countries that do not even pay lip service to “freedom of the press.” Ironically, her attacks on her opponent for not defending freedom of the press relate to an incident where she was condemning real people literally putting their own lives on the line to defend her freedom of the press — the military coalition trying to prevent the spread of a violent, cold-blooded, freedom-hating ideology to the rest of the world. If Modern Journalism’s practitioners choose to reelect Ms. Foley, it should serve as one more indication that their movement is not worth fighting, much less dying for.

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