An Open Letter to the Press

by Chuck Toporek

After spending much of yesterday either listening to or watching the news, I was amazed at how reckless the broadcast media has become. In response, here's an open letter to the broadcasters of America...

Dear [ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, FOX, etc.]:

As a citizen of the United States, a person who once served this country in the military, and as a writer and editor, I would like to know just what your reporters where thinking yesterday as your network broadcast the news of the horrific acts of terrorism that hit New York City and Washington, DC.

In reporting the news of the day, you lost your sense of responsibility to the American public, and the world as a whole. We all know that the world was watching our news, particularly the broadcasts from CNN in Atlanta, but in the sense of "national security," did you really need to report that the President was going from Florida to Louisiana and then later to a bunker in Nebraska? Your reporters gave away what should have been classified information -- but then again, they weren't entirely guilty.

Your reporters didn't act alone: They had to get their information from somewhere. Somewhere, someone leaked the whereabouts of the President to the press (on AF1, headed to areas other than Washington, DC at first), where he was going to, when he arrived, when he departed, etc. Somehow, somewhere, there was another breach of security yesterday, and the men and women of the broadcast media were all accomplices.

Additionally, while watching CNN, I heard a reporter give out the address of the hotel in Kabul where he was broadcasting from. Was this really necessary? In my opinion, this was a very stupid thing to do. If the Taliban wanted (or wants) to stop CNN from transmitting images of Kabal, they now know exactly where to go and whom to look for.

As members of the broadcast media, you have a responsibility to the United States -- as well as to the world -- to report the news judiciously. Instead of being responsible, you were reckless, and could have placed many more lives in harm's way.

Next time -- and let's hope there isn't a "next time" -- think twice before you aimlessly report something.


Chuck Toporek


2001-09-12 09:20:06
re; Open Letter

Right on. Not only that, now I've heard the reporters from ABC talking about how Bush was running like a lost soul, not around in time of crisis, looked stressed, etc. I mean, how friggin' clueless are these people? They seem to not understand that there are plans and protocols for these occasions that are designed as they are for good reason.

I wonder how different their slant would be if it was a Clinton.....

2001-09-12 13:21:16
re; Open Letter
Quick follow up to my previous message.

As evidence of the stunning ignorance of the press, I cite their performance at 4:00 PM press conference that Ari Fleischer is holding at the time of this writing.

Combine that with Peter Jennings continued incredulity that the White House would be a target and I worry for the average citizen that actually listens to these people.


2001-09-12 15:05:11
Well meaning, but wrong
Part of the President's job is to be publicly visible, to reassure the country and our allies.

Putin is reported to have tried three times to call Bush and been told that he was unavailable. That's bad mojo--it leads to people wondering whether that unavailability was permanent.

2001-09-12 16:51:30
Well meaning, but wrong

Reported by who?
2001-09-13 10:23:33
Well meaning, but wrong
Good question--I believe I heard it on either Fox or NPR, but I couldn't swear to which.