Saturday, June 04, 2005

Foley's reply: Silence

Memorial Day has come and gone, and so I figured that Newspaper Guild president Linda Foley would now be willing to go on the record and explain her claim that the US military deliberately kills journalists in Iraq.

I was wrong. I phoned the Guild yesterday and left a message for Foley. The callback came about an hour later, but the person on the line was Candice Johnson, the capable and affable spokeswoman for the Communication Workers of America, the Guild's parent union.

Johnson told me that Foley would speak to me off the record as a union member, but not for publication on a blog or anywhere else. I told her that this was unacceptable; Foley made her claim in a public venue and should have to defend it publicly. I also explained to her that Foley's decision to make her inflammatory claim without evidence to back it up put the entire profession of journalism in a bad light. Johnson was courteous, and (dare I say it?) sympathetic, but she could do no more.

Well, she did do a little more. She actually tried to defend her boss. "Her point during that panel," said Foley, "was to talk about how journalists have been scapegoated by forces in society...there are hundreds of journalists killed every year. This has raised concerns among journalists, the Guild included."

No argument there. This is indeed the sort of issue I'd expect the Guild to address. But does Foley really believe that soldiers, sailors and Marines are under orders to whack reporters? Johnson replied, "That’s not ever been said by anybody."

I then read her the relevant portion of Foley's remarks, in which she appears to be saying exactly that. Johnson replied that she didn't interpret Foley's words as I did. "I interpret it as a call for the investigation of the deaths of journalists," Johnson said.

Well, that's where things stand. We're having a union election at our newspaper. I think I'll run as a write-in candidate, in an effort to draw attention to this bizarre incident.


Blogger SaltyChief said...

Thank you for the update on this very important issue and especially for upholding the high standards and ethics which once made this institution great. Too bad others have sullied it, but with courageous actions such as yours there is hope the media can and will regain the people's trust and confidence. The numerous comments to your previous post bear witness. Here's hoping that day comes soon. Again, thank you.

7:05 AM  
Blogger SaltyChief said...

P.S. - I'm hoping readers to your latest post will take time and consider contacting their local area paper to let it know how they feel about the quality and trustworthiness of the media industry's reporting (or willful non-reporting) practices.
Again Mr. Bray, thank you for demonstrating that Truth, Integrity and Media Ethics (TIME) has not been abandoned.
It's TIME to regain and restore the public's confidence and trust.

7:26 AM  
Blogger USMC_Vet said...

The Silence is a waiting game, obviously, in an attempt to ride out the wave.

This can't be permitted to happen.

On behalf of all veterans and active servicemembers, thank you for your persistence, Mr. Bray.

7:36 PM  
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6:31 PM  

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