Thursday, February 22, 2007

More Journalistic Malfeasance

The forged George Bush memos, which Dan Rather and Mary Mapes attempted to sell the United States are the latest examples of reporters pushing their version of truth as opposed to the real thing. The Hurricane Katrina 'reporting' and the lies of Jayson Blair are also good examples of the current disinclination of the mainstream media to report fairly and truthfully. However, it appears that there is a strain of dishonesty that predates anything Blair, Rather and Mapes perpetrated..

One of journalism's highest awards is named after former CBS reporter George W. Polk. Polk was a reporter who served as a US Naval officer in World War II, and later worked for CBS. He was murdered during the Greek Civil War in the late 1940s. The award named for him is for reporters who uncover stories regarding scandal and deceit, according to the Polk award's website.

Polk was a brave officer. According to a recent study published by historian Richard B. Frank, Polk was in charge of an aircraft repair facility at Henderson Field on the island of Guadalcanal. As such, he was in one of the most dangerous posts possible in 1942- one out of every thirty men who served on Guadalcanal were killed.

However after the war, Polk represented himself as a decorated Naval pilot- something that simply isn't true, according to Mr. Franks. He deliberately lied, wore uniform accoutrements he had no right to, and forged documents to support his falsehoods. In addition, Mr. Franks says,

Judging from the correspondence and tributes included in his personal papers, deposited at New York University Library, Polk's glorious war record helped him get--and keep--his reporter's job at CBS.

As Mr. franks suggests, this raises some serious questions about Polk's reporting. If someone is willing to lie about their personal experiences for personal gain, which it appears Polk did, how can that individual's subsequent reports be accepted without some basic skepticism? And what about the institutions that were deceived? Not a single mainstream news organization has evidenced any interest in this story, though they are only too willing to reprint discredited stories about President Bush even now.

I agree with Mr. Franks, who concludes by saying, "Journalism that exposes "myriad forms of scandal and deceit" deserves to be honored. So do reporters who take risks seeking the truth. But to honor them in the name of George Polk is a travesty."

I agree. The sooner the rest of the media acknowledges this, the better. However, we are still waiting for the New York Times to acknowledge the lies propagated by their Pulitzer Prize winning Stalinist propagandist Walter Duranty. Nor has CBS acknowledged the pernicious and illegal lies that Rather and Mapes attempted to use to throw the 2004 Presidential election to John Kerry. SO I guess we won't hold our breath for this latest proof of mainstream media malfeasance. We can only say to those who still read or view these biased and untruthful 'newspeople' that the old term caveat emptor- buyer beware, applies even more now than ever.

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