Monday, January 17, 2005

Freedom Of The Press - To Do Just As It's Told

That's the kind of freedom of the press we have, thanks to our duty-bound and ultra cooperative broadcast media. Today's daily Nightline program note from Gerry Holmes & The Nightline Staff caught my angry and outraged eye, to wit:

You may or may not remember the haunting pictures released last April of rows of caskets lined up in the back of a C-5 cargo plane that had landed at Dover Air Force base. It was the first time Americans had seen the very real images that tell the story of the toll of war. The Pentagon was not happy that the photos were released. They were taken by Air Force photographers and posted onto a Web site after a request was made under the Freedom of Information Act. A few months later, Democrats in the Senate introduced a bill to allow the photography of the caskets coming home, but Republicans defeated the bill and kept line with the President's wishes not to show the caskets.

So, when six members of the Louisiana National Guard were killed in a single incident in Iraq last week, the local Guard decided at the request of the soldiers' families to follow that example and buck the system by giving news photographers access to the military burials.
Since when does freedom of the press mean that the press sits on its hands and waits to do its job until it gets permission from the all-knowing government? What the hell is going on here?? I don't know what this is, but it's certainly NOT a free press! I don't care what the government says is or isn't allowed...we're supposed to have a "free" press. To me, nothing says SELL OUT clearer than this, even clearer than the cute practice of using so-called embedded reporters (or, should I say: "in bed with" reporters?).

What do I want? I expect nothing less than some enterprising reporter and photographer to sneak in, if they have to, and inform us what the hell is going on...EXACTLY what is going on, unfiltered, unscreened, uncensored. And I expect their management to support them physically, financially and every other way, all the way. I guess I should wake up and forget that quaint, old fashioned notion entirely. On this issue, you'll find our national press in the dictionary under: SOLD OUT.

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