Saturday, February 5, 2011

We Owe Journalists in Egypt Our Gratitude

Egyptians, and free people around the world, are indebted to brave journalists who are on the front lines of the Egyptian revolution. They are putting their lives on the line. I have a always thought that embedded war correspondents and journalists were every bit as brave and critical to the success of a movement or a war as the participants themselves.

I am reminded of the civil rights movement in the South. It was not until pictures, TV transmissions, and stories of conditions and confrontations coming out of Alabama, and other deep south locations, that the nation said enough.

I am reminded of Vietnam, as night after night, transmissions from the battlefields of Vietnam into our living rooms began to make it clear that we were in a no-win situation. Then, it was when Walter Cronkite returned from Vietnam, with a brief commentary on the evening news, that the course of events in the war changed. LBJ said, "if I have lost Cronkite, I have lost America." It has been said that had more "light" been shed on conditions and events developing in Eastern Europe and Germany in the mid to late '30s, World War II may have been averted.

An aggressive, free, courageous press, with no underlying partisan or political agenda, is so critical to keeping the "people" in control in democracies. We must always be vigilant in demanding that a free, intelligent, robust press has full access to our leaders and to events as they unfold around the world. This keeps you and I , and all people who are concerned with democracy, fairness, and justice, in control of our destiny.

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