I'm beginning to get tired of Ed Freeman …

… and it’s totally not his fault.

The problem is that I keep getting this Internet myth-based email forwarded by well-meaning people who think I’m interested in a rather mean accusation that the news media only cares about all that’s evil or silly in the world and nothing about brave men.

You can read a version of the forward I got at the site of snopes.com, the gist of which is that Ed Freeman was a huge wonderful hero in the Vietnam War and he saved dozens, if not hundreds, of lives, and he died recently and the news media totally ignored him because the news media was too busy telling us all about Tiger Woods (in the version I received. It changes.)

And all that’s true, except the part about him being ignored.

The version I got said he died “last wednesday.” Actually, Freeman died in 2008,  well before the Tiger Woods stuff in the news now. Previous versions of this email discussed Michael Jackson, back before he was dead, and some rock star.

Has the media ignored Freeman? Freeman’s  death was carried in the news in his home town and nationally. I believe we also ran a story about it.

When Mr. Freeman received his medal of Honor in 2001 the event was covered by the national media as well as media in his home town. I don’t know what stories we carried at the time, but it was probably in the S-E somewhere, although or emphasis is on local news.

Local news cover local heros best. Utah’s Medal of Honor recipient George Wahlen, for example, got a LOT more coverage in the S-E than even in the Salt Lake papers, let alone national media.

Perhaps most important, the theme of this post is an effort to make the news media sound uncaring about the deeds that brave people do.

 This is a repeating theme today — the news media carries a lot of junk and ignores what’s important. It lies. It’s “liberal,” whatever that means.

I can’t tell you how often I get forwarded pictures of soldiers giving candy to kids in Iraq, for example, with the accusation “Why don’t you run this?”

Interestingly, the forwarded pictures are often press pictures, copied out of some news site. Usually they’re also old. We don’t run old news. Someone send us a picture of a Layton Airman giving out candy last week in Afghanistan, we would probably run it.

 As the guy who did many, many stories about George Wahlen, I consider the implication that we ignore the brave deeds of our soldiers, and others, both unfair and insulting. We cover them all the time.

The problem is, we we can’t run a story about  George Wahlen, or Ed Freeman, every day. There aren’t that many of those guys.

For another, even if there were,  it would quickly become a “brave guy of the day” story that you, be honest, would ignore.

What makes any story readable is it’s uniqueness. When anything happens all the time it is not, by definition, news.  The last time anyone tried to run a newspaper with nothing but good news (“Thousands go to school every day?”) it went bust, and this was back when newspapers were still making money. People like to look at train wrecks.

 Unfortunately, a lot of news that people don’t want to hear about, but need to, does happen every day. Politics is messy, but essential. Accidents are important. Scandals tell you that evil is being uncovered, if you want to look at them that way, but they’re still a great source of schadenfreud.
 
It is true, I wish the national media would quit covering Mr. Woods.  Also Ms. Palin, Sandra Bullock’s husband, Jon and Kate and the whole sorry rest of the hoard of publicity seekers. I have no control over that.

If I did they’d all be on the comics page where they belong.

Speaking of Internet Rumors: If you saw something saying the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the A-Bomb on Heroshima, is being readied for a cross-country tour, be advised it is an April Fool joke that someone didn’t get.

The Enola Gay, needless to say, isn’t going anywhere. It’s not able to fly and never will be again. You can see it on display in Washington DC.

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3 Responses to I'm beginning to get tired of Ed Freeman …

  1. flatlander100 says:

    Charlie, I’m afraid a great many people read the news — if they read it at all, or even watch it on TV — merely as a random collection of disconnected items of momentary interest. They do not, as we used to say, “keep up with the news.” And so they have no narrative of news against which to assess new stories, no historical context [long or short term] into which they can fit whatever it is they read or hear today. When you add in deliberate attempts to misinform by politicians and their internet and talk radio handmaidens, it becomes even worse. [Try asking around and see how many people think the original bank bailout --- the one that saved City Bank and BOA etc. --- was an Obama administration action. It seems most of my students do.] And with no historical background — short or long term — no context framing the news bit du jour, they become outraged over seeming [but non-existent] slights like the one being passed around on the internet and forwarded to you that sparked your post today.

    And I’m not sure there’s a cure for it. I’m not sure how a citizenry a large portion of which has the public affairs attention span of a twelve year old can be informed well enough and continually to the level that a free and representative democracy [Jefferson, Madison and Adams' term] requires of an electorate in order to work well.

  2. an old, old man says:

    Charlie, Flatlander and anyone else who may be interested. You’ve probably heard of the thinking person’s alternative to the Tea Party — the Coffee Party.

    There will be a Coffee Party get-together on Saturday, May 22.

    Join us at the SECOND Coffee Party gathering in the Ogden area. We will gather on Saturday 22 May from 10 am to noon at Grounds for Coffee (111 Historic 25th Street).

  3. Dave says:

    Whenever I get the Ed Freeman email, I just link to Snopes, then send a reply back to the well meaning person who sent it to me telling them that this is old, it was covered, and that there is a school and a post office in Idaho named for him. I usually get an apology.

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