Interesting piece by Bill Keller, Editor at the New York Times, in which he strives mightily to skewer Sarah Palin for insulting the august profession of journalism. Money shot:
I was struck by the gratuitous quality of one remark she tossed off during that Rolling Thunder rally in Washington the Sunday before Memorial Day. When an NPR reporter asked what had brought her to the event, she replied, “It is our vets who we owe our freedom — not the politician, not the reporter — it is our vets, so that’s why we’re here.”
There is, I suppose, a gracious way to translate her comments. She might have meant to convey something along the lines of: “I’m sincerely humbled by the sacrifice our veterans have made to defend the freedoms I enjoy in my capacity as a politician and Fox News media pundit.” But I think we all know she meant nothing of the kind.
What Bill Keller doesn't know, because he is ignorant of the military and the purpose of the Rolling Thunder rally -- to bring awareness to the sacrifices of our veterans and POW's -- is that Mrs. Palin was referencing a powerful and often-quoted poem by Father Dennis O'Brien, USMC:
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.
What Bill Keller also doesn't know is that former Democrat Zell Miller quoted the poem in his speech during the 2004 Republican National Convention:
Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more of the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And our soldiers don’t just see freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home. It has been said truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. [cheers] It is the soldier, not the poet who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag.
What Bill Keller doesn't know, apparently, could fill up an entire op-ed piece. Or a newsroom.