James Foley Was a Hack
Every now and then, some unwise high school teacher will invite me to come speak to his/her journalism class.
"It's all crap," I tell them. "Everything in the paper is lies."
They're not surprised. Many of the have been taught this by their parents, people who like to "do their own research" on the Internet.
"If everything we write is biased," I say, "why do governments keep killing reporters? Why not just buy us off?"
They never have an answer. They are 17 and magnificently unafraid of death.
Islamic militants beheaded journalist James Foley, giving him a medieval death in a digital age, which tells you from where their thinking comes.
"How do you like your blueeyed boy Mister Death," poet e.e. cummings famously asked.
Less likely to turn the famous phrase, I ask, how do you like your biased news media, bleeding on the sand?
Poor Foley, who apparently wasn't satisfied with the huge sums of hush and bribe money offered daily to journalists of all kinds. Poor Foley, who, childlike, continued to point his lens at things, continued to go and find out and be damned, a phrase that should be graven in stone over the door to every newspaper.
And you, stay at home yappers who know "what really happens" in journalism, you one viewpoint fools who get your news from Facebook, do you know James Foley?
Was he the "biased" news media? Was he the "lamestream" media? Was he one of those "cowards" who "hide behind the First Amendment?" A shill for the right-wing? For the left? Did he mislead we the people even unto death? Was he made redundant by bloggers who lift all their facts from newspapers? Was he made redundant by Photoshopped pictures proving whatever the Photoshopper believes? A backward believer in old-fashioned, dead-tree journalism?
Names get slung at reporters every day by people who believe the epitome of smartness is to say that everything is a lie.
But do you know James Foley? Some warrior for the faith cut Foley's head off because he went to find truth, to see it and send it back to people who snicker at the very mention of "journalistic ethics," those same people who think quarterbacks are heroes.
Nothing will ever grow in the sand watered by James Foley's blood, because there are some places where nothing ever grows — the way curiosity and the urge to think will never take root in some minds.
And next week, one of the Kardashians will do something distasteful and Foley will be gone from your mind, though you will still remember that all journalists are "biased hacks."
There goes your boy.
To find out more about Marc Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com
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