19 April 2006

Judith Miller: Bush sycophant and greasy government toady, meet a REAL journalist: Jack Anderson

Jack Anderson was a patriot with a deep and abiding love for his country and its people. While he firmly believed in the essential goodness and wisdom of its people, he was often critical of those in government who wield power. He felt strongly that the role of a free press was to stand as sentinel, ready to sound the alarm when government overstepped its bounds. In Jack Anderson’s view, a journalist’s sacred duty was to criticize government when appropriate in the hope that it might do better. The press was certainly never intended to serve as the government’s handmaiden. As Mr. Anderson explained regarding his reporting on the Nixon Administration: “I have always published what I thought the American people ought to know.… Occasionally the decisions have been agonizing ones. But usually, when something has come across my desk classified as a national security secret, it has involved the misdeeds and manipulations of people who had abused the public trust, and then had swept the evidence under the secrecy stamp.” Similarly, he wrote about the fundamental precepts he learned from his mentor Drew Pearson who “took pains to inculcate his convictions on the moral objectives of the newspaper column and the just society: to champion the cause of the voiceless instead of the dominant, the dissenter as well as the organization, the helpless against their exploiters, the small enterprise over the octopus, the public’s right to know and control rather than the official’s prerogative to conceal and manipulate.” In short, his views can best be summed up as follows: Ours is a government of the people. The people are the sovereigns; those who work in government are our servants. We the people have the right to know what our servants are doing when they act in our name. In Mr. Anderson’s view, this bedrock principle could not be otherwise; for, as he emphasized repeatedly: “The stakes are too high in a democracy where everything rests on an informed people.”

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