Thursday, June 23, 2005

And about time too

Linda Foley, at long last, has backed away from her outrageous attack on American servicepeople. In an essay on the Guild's website, she repeats the familiar claim that she's the victim of a right-wing lynch mob. Yet she somehow manages to choke out the admission that maybe her words at the May conference in St. Louis went a little too far.

In other words, the essence of my message is: Don’t kill the messenger. I should have said it that way in St. Louis. Instead, I decided to draw a parallel between the assault on journalists for their work and the assault on journalists covering Iraq. I used strong words and said it rather clumsily, but the St. Louis crowd got the point.

If I made a mistake, it was in trying to cover the issues surrounding safety for journalists in Iraq in an off-the-cuff way. I regret that my in-artful phraseology, and the storm it incited on the right, may detract from a critically important issue for journalists, especially those who cover war.

No kidding. This was all I ever wanted from Ms. Foley, and I can only wonder why it took her so long to get around to it. Oh well. Better late than never. And thanks for doing the right thing, however grudgingly.


Blogger USMC_Vet said...

With all due respect, Mr. Bray, I cannot see how she has backed away.

She re-phrased the words she said when she originally shared what was really on her mind. All after over a month of silence.

Do you really think she means her re-phrasing and softening? It took over a month for her to re-type what she passionately verbalized. Which do you think she means?

She conveniently assumes the role of 'victim' and 'messenger' if I and those like me are trying to kill the messenger. Oddly, this is precisely what she has accused the men and women of the US Military of literally. And now she uses such a phrase figuratively? We are trying to kill the message, and her new-found text does not kill the message. The message stands. Witness the tone of her column.

When she spoke so freely, naturally, openly and passionately, she bared her soul. Do you need to revisit the tape, sir?

She says point blank: "They target and kill journalists" on one day.

One month later, rather than provide supporting evidencem, she types out a re-hash surrounded by "IF I made a mistake..." and "I said it rather clumsily.." and "many wonder if the military targets..."???

If she had said this immediately or even within days of her original statement, maybe it would be recieved differently. But after more than a month of absolute silence?

Sorry. That dog won't hunt.

There's no 'if'...IF this is some sort of apology.

There was nothing 'clumsy' about her original words. She was spot-on in conveying her message. She simply wishes she hadn't quite said it so well. In your heart, surely you know it to be true.

I have had and still maintain great respect for you, Hiawatha.

You simply seem a little easy to please at the moment. If this is good enough for you, then possibly you were not as outraged as you thought you were a few weeks ago.

I was. I am. This falls well short of even sincere (with the exception of bitterness toward the 'Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy' or whatever we call ourselves these days). It surely is not adequate. Not for the members of the US Military who stand accused of murdering journalists as a matter of strategic doctrine.


Semper Fi,

Media Slander

9:11 PM  
Blogger Mark Buehner said...

What a non-apology. It is nothing short of sickeningly ironic that Foley cant see the hypocracy of defending a panel entitled "dont shoot the messenger" by dedicating half 'apology' to blasting the Right Wing Media. Wow, breathtakingly smug.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Siouxner said...

The non-apology apology, with the trusty "if" preamble employed at every opportunity, has become the latest cliché for venial sins. Instant absolution! No guilt!

I guess it depends on what your definition of "if" is . . .

6:25 AM  
Blogger TribbleKat said...

Y'know... it's not great as an apology, but I think it's fine as a correction.

She's saying that she didn't mean to call members of the U.S. military a bunch of murderers.

Casting unproven aspersions on servicepeople was the problem, right? Not whether she likes "the vast right-wing conspiracy" or not.

I'm a journalist, and a Guild activist, and a lefty, and I didn't like what she said. Partly because of the credibility issue, partly because the controversy detracts from some very serious issues, and partly because my father was in the U.S. Army for more than 25 years. But if that's not what she meant, then I'm willing to take her word for it.

You can suspect what you like about Linda Foley's "true" feelings, but the only thing we can know for sure is what her public statements are.

There's a great quote from the new Batman flick that applies here: "It's not what's underneath, but what we do that defines us."

Last month, she said that it wouldn't matter what she said because her right-wing critics wouldn't be satisfied. Please do yourselves the honor of not proving her correct on that.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Fresh Air said...

Here is an e-mail I sent to the Guild this morning:

Dear Newspaper Guild executive:

Ms. Foley's conditional apology is pathetic, as is her accusation a "right-wing conspiracy" is out to get her. Even if there was such a right-wing conspiracy as she imagines in her paranoia, would that make it wrong? Can one only be factually correct if one's motives conform to a left-of-center worldview?

In Ms. Foley's attempted defense of her original, baseless assertions about the U.S. military, she claims as her substantiation several "inadequately explained" incidents involving deaths of journalists in Iraq. But this is an awfully far cry from adequate evidence the military is deliberately targeting journalists in Iraq.

Blurring the distinction between what she said and what she knows to be true just makes it worse. Calling someone a murderer without evidence in public is slander. And that is precisely what Ms. Foley has done: She has slandered our men and women in uniform, apparently without remorse.

Ultimately, her pseudo-apology is nothing more than a display of self-righteous indignation, uninformed by facts, logic or reason and wholly governed by emotion and wishful thinking. Memo to Ms. Foley: If you were wrong, admit it. If you feel you were right, then cough up the evidence. If you can't do either, resign.

In this day of quarter over quarter newspaper declines, there must be a lot of nervous people in newsrooms around the country. Surely the Guild can do better than Linda Foley as its leader.

9:16 AM  
Blogger dualdiagnosis said...

Foleys' continued tenure at the Guild will speak volumes about the credibility of that organization.

If journalists are curious in the tiniest bit about why newspapers' are in a confidence crisis with readership and advertising revenues falling off a cliff, they can look to this escapade as only one small part in the demise of the medium.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Stephen M. St. Onge said...

      I'll take Foley's word that she didn't mean to say what it sounded like she said.  The problem is, she still hasn't said what she does mean.

      Sixty or seventy journalists and support people (like drivers, camera operators, etc.) have been murdered by oh-my-we-MUST-NOT-call-them-terrorists, or the Iraqi Army.  8 died in unknown or accidental circumstances.  They don't seem to bother Foley.

      Fourteen appear to have died at the hands of U.S. forces.  Foley doesn't find the U.S. explanations as to how they happened "inadequate," not "independent," and not "vigorous."  What DOES she want?  She won't say, plainly.

      Foley also said, to Editor & Publisher, that she's convinced the U.S. knowingly bombed the al-Jeezera studios in Baghdad.  Who does she think did this, if not the "troops?"

      By the way, al-Jazeera's studios weren't bombed, although a generator next door to the studio was.  It's possible that a fragment from that bomb killed a journalist, but not certain.

      Far too much more here.

      As things stand, the only reasonable inference I can get from her words is that unknown members of the "U.S. military," but not the "troops," deliberately murdered journalists in Iraq, because . . . well, that's completely impenetrable.  I conclude she's a coward who lacks the nerve to say plainly what she means.


3:51 PM  
Blogger JBlog said...

Weasel words from a weasel. Her comments were plain and her accusations was specific.

Her offhand dismissal that this was all some sort of verbal typo would be laughable if it weren't so outrageous.

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Blogger David Pakman said...

Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.

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