Chamblee54

What Would You Do?

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on July 8, 2009

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PG retrieved his free copy of the Neighbor Newspaper, and looked for the editorial page. He had not been angry enough lately, and wanted to see what Dick Yarbrough had to say. PG soon heard the familiar ding ding ding of his BS detector.

Mr. Yarbrough was commenting on the subject of journalists who do not have their priorities in line. A prime example was some comments by Mike Wallace. The story was that Mr. Wallace…
“who once proclaimed to a group at Harvard that if he were traveling with enemy soldiers he would not warn U.S. soldiers of an impending ambush.”
This made PG think, and the result was an unpleasant headache. He sent an email to Mr. Yarbrough. Nitpickers in the audience will note the use of first person. And yes, PG is using his “real” name.

I read your column today about Mike Wallace, and journalists in general. Mr. Wallace is 91 years old. He is not going to be traveling with enemy soldiers anytime soon. I seriously doubt that he ever has. So what if he says he would not warn American troops of an upcoming ambush? Even if he was in the company of enemy troops, how would he have knowledge of an upcoming ambush? And how would he get the information to our troops?

Also, do you have a reference for this quote? What was the context? What was the “group at Harvard”? Did you consider that this might never have happened?
In the last administration, someone had a problem with a journalist. The get revenge, his wife was outed as a CIA agent. Maybe the quote should have been, “You’re Americans first and Government Officials second”.

You are hereby warned…you are corresponding with a blogger who is likely to use this conversation for his blog.
Luther Mckinnon https://chamblee54.wordpress.com/

Mr.McKinnon. Blog your little heart away. You can find all the references on the Internet. I don’t have time nor inclination to be your secretary. Peter Jennings was also in attendance.
Dick Yarbrough Syndicated Columnist http://www.dickyarbrough.com

Thank you for your fast reply.
A google search to “Mike Wallace said at Harvard that if he were traveling with enemy soldiers he would not warn U.S. soldiers of an impending ambush.” yielded information about those comments.
One advantage of writing online to “dead tree” journalism is the ability to provide a link to more information. Below are two sources about this discussion. http://www.mrc.org/Profiles/wallace/welcome.asp and http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2006/cyb20060317.asp#5.b
My other questions remain. I can sum them up in six letters…so what?
An elderly man was answering a hypothetical question. There was no way Mr. Wallace was going to be traveling with enemy troops in a war.
Luther Mckinnon

One, justifying his comments as being from an “elderly man” strikes of ageism. Be careful.
Two, when you have attained the status of Gene Methvin, I will take the time to tell you “so what.” Don’t think you are quite there yet. Too judgmental, too quickly. But at least you care.
All the best.
Dick Yarbrough Syndicated Columnist http://www.dickyarbrough.com

To begin with, I am 55, and rapidly approaching grumpy old man status.
I had another thought on the subject. Let’s say the enemy had an embedded American journalist. This enemy ( the war and enemy were not specified) knew that this journalist would report back to the American troops. What would stop them from giving this reporter phony information, that would put our troops in danger?
This panel discussion was in 1987 ( when Wallace was a chipper 68). This was fourteen years before 911. It is tough to imagine what sort of war they were discussing. It is also tough to imagine the taliban having an embedded American reporter.

At any rate, I think I have plenty of material for a good post here. I will provide links to your column, and to the online articles about the panel discussion. This way anybody reading can look at all the materials, and make up their own mind. I might even do a google on Gene Methvin, and see if I can find that column.
Thank you for your help. Luther Mckinnon

Go get ‘em. DY PS: 55 is a young man.


After sending this letter, PG took a look at the video. It was a panel discussion for PBS that was taped at Harvard. The question that started it all is not shown.

Peter Jennings begins by saying that he would try to warn the Americans, although it would cost his life. Mr. Jennings was glad this was a hypothetical situation. Mike Wallace then said he would cover it like a journalist covering any other story. The moderator sits down on the panel in front of Mr. Wallace and confronts Mr. Wallace.
At the 1:05 mark in the video, Mr. Wallace says “I’m an old man I don’t know what I’d do”. A nervous smile soon follows. Body language readers should enjoy that part of the video. Soon, the discussion is so hypothetical as to be useless. PG cannot tell if the issue is whether to warn American troops, or to turn off the cameras while the fighting takes place.

It is never made clear exactly what the reporter was supposed to do to help the US troops, If he had warned the US forces, he would have either been killed, or passing along deliberate misinformation. If the reporter was on the enemy turf and photographed Americans being killed…there are two sides to that, it might inspire the home front to greater efforts on behalf of our troops. Or it might arouse anti war sentiment.

This discussion was in the late eighties, long before the “War on Terror”. The panel seems to be discussing something out of World War II, with regular armies in a conventional war. It is tough to imagine the Taliban with embedded American Journalists. It is even tougher to figure out what a 22 year old video of a retired journalist superstar has to do with much of anything.

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