Watching reporters putting themselves in harm’s way to cover Harvey and now Irma, makes me think of the 115 journalists who died doing their jobs in 2016, nine of whom died on U.S. soil.
Every police officer who dies on the job in the United States is memorialized, called a hero, and rightfully so. Sixty four officers died in the U.S. in 2016. Most were honored with parades and days of public mourning. When a journalist is killed there’s no parade and generally no big public display of sympathy.
There are obvious differences between cops and reporters. One, is that the potential for being shot and killed is a very real possibility for anyone who takes the oath to become a police officer. That’s why they’re allowed to carry guns and go out on the streets under the color of authority. I doubt any cub reporter expects to die out on a story.
When public officials talk about first responders, journalists are almost never mentioned. Perhaps it’s time to afford a bit more appreciation to those legitimate journalists who bring us our news, as opposed to all the politically motivated non-stop complaining.
Every few months some police organization calls asking for money. When was the last time a journalist called asking you to contribute to defend and protect the First Amendment or the Freedom of Information Act?
Currently, the Newseum in Washington, D.C. is underfunded and threatened by closure, even though it stands as a monument to American journalism, including its memorial to journalists who died while on the job.
Is the service of journalists any less important to the country than the service of our police? Is it even possible to hang a price tag on the value of freedom, something that cannot survive without an unhindered press?
Careful what you take for granted. It just might go away.