Oh, it is about damn time:
Ask the average American what they think of a journalist, and you’ll likely find that they would rather invite a lawyer or used-car salesman to babysit their only child than a fellow griot.
We are considered the scum of the earth.
And for all of you who think that, I don’t care one iota.
Let’s just be honest. Everyone loves to hate journalists. We are noisy, nosey, unruly and counterculture, often sticking our notepads, tape recorders and cameras in places that anger politicians and corporations.
But instead of wanting to beat us up, all of you should give us a standing ovation.
In fact, let’s start doing for journalists what we do for the members of the military as they walk through the airport: provide them a loud round of applause and offer to buy their dinner or a round of drinks.
How on one hand can we say that American soldiers are giving their lives for the American way of life, democracy and all that other feel good stuff, yet get ticked off when journalists at the New York Times or the Washington Post do their constitutionally-protected job of informing citizens of the US of A what our country is up to?
The Bush administration and their Jim Jones-like followers are up in arms over the report in the New York Times regarding the methods used by our government to track down the money of terrorists. This follows previous reports of torture in military prisons in Iraq and other salacious stories that have raised the ire of the White House. Republican politicians, commentators and bloggers are foaming at the mouth, hoping to put the Old Grey Lady in her place, even suggesting that journalists should be thrown in jail for “treason.”
Remember, these are the “proud Americans” who love to trumpet our Founding Fathers and their infinite wisdom. But oh, how they love to ignore the FIRST Amendment of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
These are the words that are the bedrock of our democracy. Yet for our critics, they are meaningless unless they can define “freedom of the press.”
Honest crit is one thing. What’s been happening to the NYT is not honest crit. And it’s about time people with an interest in the pursuit of truth started goddamn well acting like that’s what their lives are about.
Your own behavior tells people how to perceive you. Stop letting them kick you around. Stop thanking them for another blow. Stop acting like you’ve done something to deserve it and stop listening to your mother when she tells you ignoring a bully will make him go away. Stand up, punch him in the face, and as you walk away from his whiny, snot-faced, snivelling ass tell all the bystanders the next person to try it gets double what that punk got so just come get it if you want some, okay?
Have some self-respect. Your objectivity does not require that you knuckle under to everybody’s abuse equally. Your impartiality does not mean you can’t believe in what you do or defend it to others no matter your politics or theirs. To quote Deadwood, which is something I find myself doing with alarming frequency these days, “Pain or damage don’t end the world. Or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man… and give some back.”
Not. One. Inch.