You might think that in a free society the media should find the facts and truthfully report them to the public. But former Army intelligence officer Lt. Col. Ralph Peters disagrees. In his recent book, “New Glory: Expanding America’s Global Supremacy,” Peters argues that the media should act as “combatants” in wartime:
The media can no longer sustain their pretenses of being aloof, objective observers dispassionately recording events. The media are combatants. [New Glory: Expanding America’s Global Supremacy, Page 49]
Peters took his thesis to Fox News last night. When asked about a recent ABC report that the CIA moved detainees out of secret prisons in Europe prior to Secretary of State Rice’s visit, he said:
When ABC or any other outlet gives away our national secrets, or verifies them, and underscores them by repeating what others have said, and seems to verify for the world — look, they are putting Americans at risk. They’re putting our allies at risk, as you observed. And they’re putting our programs at risk. “¦ But worst of all, Bill, it’s killing American soldiers. [The O’Reilly Factor, 12/6/05]
Bill O’Reilly agreed with Peters’ new definition of the media:
I would not have reported what ABC News reported. I would not have done it. I — as you know — didn’t put Abu Ghraib pictures on this broadcast, the only television journalist not to do so. I do feel that the press has a responsibility to help the government in the war on terror. [The O’Reilly Factor, 12/6/05]
Funny, and we thought freedom of the press was a fundamental democratic value.