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May 19, 2005
Linda Foley Channeling Eason Jordan

Perhaps in an era where mainstream journalists appear to be embracing the "fake but accurate" standard for publication stories like this should not surprise us, but one would think that key figures in the communication industry would be more careful in how they express themselves. The latest outbreak of unsubstantiated allegations against the US military comes from Linda Foley, the president of the Newspaper Guild and the Communication Workers of America. According to WorldNet Daily and a video at Say Anything, Foley has dug up the hoary Eason Jordan urban legend of American assassinations of journalists in Iraq:

According to a tape of her remarks, Foley said: "Journalists, by the way, are not just being targeted verbally or ah, or ah, politically. They are also being targeted for real, um in places like Iraq. What outrages me as a representative of journalists is that there's not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq."

Foley continued, "They target and kill journalists uh, from other countries, particularly Arab countries like Al -, like Arab news services like al-Jazeera, for example. They actually target them and blow up their studios with impunity. ..."

If the journalists who make these claims have evidence to support them, they have unique mechanisms available to them to produce it to the world. They work for newspapers and broadcast networks, in case they've forgotten. Just as with Eason Jordan this winter and with Newsweek this month, however, it's easier to just pander to the anti-American sentiment around the world and toss around allegations with no substantiation whatsoever.

Foley should either present her evidence or resign her position. She's not as important as Eason Jordan or Mark Whitaker, but she's a symptom of a larger disease in American journalism. The threshold of publication for allegations has been lowered past "single sourced" to "sounds like it could be true", especially when it comes to covering the American military. It's time that the public demanded that the media perform to higher standards than the Rona Barrett model. (h/t: USS Neverdock)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 19, 2005 12:15 PM

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