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CyberAlert -- 09/17/2001 -- Rukeyser's Inspiring Comments

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Rukeyser's Inspiring Comments; Bozell Praises Network Coverage of Terrorist Attacks

1) An inspiring message from Louis Rukeyser, with a note of historical caution. He pleasingly observed that most Americans do not want to throw "Israel to the wolves as we did Czechoslovakia," but suggested "the fervor we feel today must be set against the uncomfortable reality, that despite similar fervor in the past, Fidel Castro still rules in Havana and Saddam Hussein in Baghdad." Rukeyser found encouragement, however, in a flag seller's sign which "said it all: 'These colors do not run.'"

2) Statement from MRC President L. Brent Bozell: "Our national news media have answered the call to duty with professionalism and patriotism."


1

Louis Rukeyser opened Friday night's Wall Street Week on PBS with comments I found quite compelling, so I took down a portion of what he said. Joining him about halfway through his observations about the meaning of the terrorist attacks, Rukeyser recalled:
"Exactly 40 years ago this year, my friends, I first stared into the face of evil when I covered the trial of Adolph Eichmann. Not only do we see that same face of cruelty and hatred today in Osama Bin Laden, but many of the world's reactions are eerily similar, right down to those who would justify and appease the new genocide as they did the old -- throwing Israel to the wolves as we did Czechoslovakia. A country that, to paraphrase Britain's pre-war Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, seems far away and remote from our practical interests and understanding.
"Happily, that is not the typical American reaction today. But we are not a country renowned for our patience or for our memory. And the fervor we feel today must be set against the uncomfortable reality, that despite similar fervor in the past, Fidel Castro still rules in Havana and Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.
"To keep our economy strong, and truly to eradicate the new terrorist threat, as our leaders have promised us this week, will take not only anger, but sustained dedication. Do we have it? Let us hope for our sake and the world's that we truly do.
"And let me add one encouraging personal observation. Yesterday, in the streets of mid-town Manhattan, as well as all over our nation, stores were selling out of American flags. And one street vendor's sign said it all: 'These colors,' it read, 'do not run.'"

To watch Rukeyser's commentary via RealPlayer or to listen to it via RealAudio: http://www.pbs.org/mpt/rukeyser/video.html

[Web Update: Several readers have suggested that Rukeyser confused Stanley Baldwin with Neville Chamberlain.]

2

The text of a statement by MRC President Brent Bozell released on Friday:

Our national news media have answered the call to duty with professionalism and patriotism. Let us cheer the important and inspiring work done by our nation's journalists.

One cannot overestimate the importance of their work, either. All of America was hanging on to their every word during the attacks and in their aftermath as it began to crawl out of the wreckage. The press responded with fierce professionalism.

It is difficult to fathom the pressure on a journalist, particularly the on-air reporter, at a time like this. On television, the anchors earned their name by staying calm and weighty when hysteria came naturally. Consider one incident, at the height of the crisis, just after the third plane had slammed into the Pentagon and no one, but no one, knew what to expect next. I was amazed as I watched Fox's Brit Hume quietly, soberly, but with the necessary urgency, relay that D.C. police were warning him there was another airplane roaring up the Potomac River at a high rate of speed. If true, its target might well have been the U.S. Capitol, right across the street from Mr. Hume's broadcast booth.

As now our own land has come under attack, as our own citizens have died needlessly In collapsing heaps of metal and cement, as the crushing reality hits that our very freedom is now imperiled, our national press corps has responded, showing that in a real crisis, they are the best of the best. I know I speak for millions when I offer a heartfelt 'thank you' to our entire national media for their sobriety and their sincerity, and their refreshing sense of national purpose. Like all our leaders, they have responded to tragedy by showing us how to display the best of ourselves when we're feeling the worst.

END Reprint of Statement. -- Brent Baker


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