Today I am ashamed to be an American journalist
In October 1956, my friend the leading Indian newsman of his generation, Shri Mulgaokar, wrote an iconic essay, “Today I am ashamed to be an Indian”. Mr. Mugaolkar flayed Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his communist Ambassdor to the United Nations V.K. Krishna Menon who had reached the nadir of their ignominious alliance with Moscow by defending the Soviet assault on Hungarian freedom fighters.
Were Shri still among us, I might well ask him for a Hindustan Times front page spot for my own screed, “Today I am ashamed to be an American journbalist”. For in 60-plus years in newsrooms, I have never seen anything to match the utter media collapse in the face of the ominous national security disaster at Benghazi.
The spectacle of a press conference with only eight questions – the only serious one never answered by President Barrack Hussein Oabama continuing his nattering political campaign – resembled nothing so much as President Charles DeGaulle’s staged events with less Gallic flair. One simpering reporter even began her question with a sycophantic stumbling few words about the President’s continued victories.
The New York Times, once considered the press lion, has ignored the vast national security implications of Bengazhi, busy importing at extraordinary prices a former head of the British Brodcasting Corporation which he left drowning in scandal. Somehow, American news companies appear to think importing British hack accents [my friend Stuart Varney the exception] will halt the steady descent of print media into obscurity.
Tina Brown, who has already destroyed the integrity of three once proud U.S. publications, is another case in point. Her colleague Eli King pretends to follow the Benghazi story but totally confuses the issues for his leftwing and rightfully named Daily Beast.
Only Jennifer Griffin, national security correspondent, and her colleague Katherin Herridge, who covers homeland security, are pursuing the story with almost daily “exclusives”, rescuing the Fox network from the ravages of the egomaniac Bill O’Reilly’s pontifical judgments based on little but prejudices. The two women almost daily reveal new implications for national security.
One had hoped the puerile interest of the mainstream media in the sexual adventures of former CIA Director David H. Petraeus and a coterie of high-ranking officers in Tampa, Fla., apparently leading back to Lebanese influence network, might produce some coverage of real issues. But that seems not to be.
The policy questions posed by Benghazi are almost as limitless as they are germaine to national security but they still elicit no response from the media. When Mr. Obama defends propaganda given out by his U.N. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, his own admission that she had nothing to do with the events of Sept. 11 in Benghazi doesn’t provoke further media scrutiny.
Why was she chosen to make what was obviously a totally false explanation on five TV networks in one day?
Why was proper security not present, despite repeated terrorist attacks in Benghazi on foreign diplomats? Why had Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens traveled to Benghazi when his previous calls for more security had gone unanswered? Why was Gen. Carter Ham summarily sacked within less than a year as head of the U.S. military’s African command, amid talk forces under his command might have gone to the rescue of those under attack in Benghazi? What were the two former SEALs on loan to CIA doing in Libya in the first place? They were not there originally for the ambassador’s security, but in fact countermanded orders that they not try to rescue him. Who, indeed, “handed” administration spokesmen a false public explanation of the attack despite instantaneous knowledge it was planned, well-armed, and with clear ties to Al Qaida? Surely all these questions have wide implications for the nation’s security.
The questions – which in a once vibrant American media would have occasioned dozens of newsworthy stories – are endless and remain unanswered. A slovenly, self-infatuated, incompetent, unprofessional, prejudiced and corrupt media refuses to do its job.
Thomas Jefferson, that great voice for freedom and a government subservient to the people, said it best:
“The press [is] the only tocsin of a nation. [When it] is completely silenced… all means of a general effort [are] taken away.” …
Are we lost?
Sol W. Sanders, (firstname.lastname@example.org), writes the ‘Follow the Money’ column for The Washington Times on the convergence of international politics, business and economics. He is also a contributing editor for WorldTribune.com and East-Asia-Intel.com.