This morning, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld brought up the stories of ongoing abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Instead of addressing the actual charges, however, Rumsfeld attacked the media for continuing to cover the story. He said:
Two of the country’s largest newspapers, for example, have devoted more than 80 editorials combined since March of 2004 to Abu Ghraib and detainee issues, often repeating the same erroneous assertions and recycling the same stories. By comparison, precious little has been written by those editorial boards about the beheading of innocent civilians by terrorists, the thousands of bodies found in mass graves in Iraq, the allegations of rape of women and girls by U.N. workers in the Congo.
Journalist Finley Peter Dunne once famously said: “The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” The job of the free press is to shine a light on injustice and demand accountability from our government. Donald Rumsfeld needs to stop blaming the messenger and start rectifying the problem itself.