Monday, August 25, 2014

The Symbolism of a Severe Summer Storm

Pretty awesome shelf cloud to the right, isn't it? I took that today outside my office, where we had a line of moderate to severe thunderstorms move through. As they say down South, it rained like water pouring out of a boot.

Why would I mention "symbolism" in light of a late summer thunderstorm? It's because I see a lot of illustrative power with that photo. We have the threat of Islamic radicals not just gaining strength overseas, but here in America as well. I have no doubt that we have sleeper cells in our midst just waiting to strike. And America wants to roll over and go back to sleep. If we just close our eyes, maybe it will all go away.

The current Administration in power is content to be even worse than Jimmy Carter and be do-less about dealing with the problem. Today, my level of being incensed is aimed at the news media, which seems to show less and less responsibility in their reporting. Did the news reporters need to explain in detail how the thug who allegedly beheaded journalist James Foley is being identified by British Intelligence? It's already out there now, so if you missed the story, I might as well explain. I guess you can identify people with current technology that zeros in on your hands, and your hands can serve as an ID as well as a fingerprint.

That got revealed by a reporter on FNC. You'd hope they'd know better. What will be the result? Likely future beheaders will not only wear burkha-like robes and face masks. Now they'll wear gloves, making it even harder to find out who they are.

I suppose in one sense it doesn't matter. If our government does what it's supposed to do in protecting the country and U.S. assets abroad, the guy will get his comeuppance either through a drone strike or special forces. But in another sense, it does matter. Why, why, WHY help our enemies? Does getting a scoop really mean that much?

I am a former news director and former journalist. I can be as competitive as the next person. But I also believe that there is some sense of responsibility in reporting. Sometimes it is best to keep quiet about what you know.

Maybe that's why I had some modicum of respect from law enforcement and government officials when I was still in the business. They knew I had some discretion and they could tell me things knowing I'd be responsible with the information. Trust me. If they explained their strategy in finding a mass murderer, I'd keep mum about it until after the mass murderer was caught. But I'm not going to blab it so the mass murderer can hear the tactics and evade capture.

CNN did something very similar during the first Gulf War that appalled me. They threw the klieg lights on and put our troops on the air live landing on shore - in essence making them a target of anyone who wanted to shoot at them. But by George, they were live and on the scene, covering the landing as it happened. Pop some corn! Watch the show.

My blood pressure's rising. Enough of this - you get the idea. But I do worry for my country. God help us.

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