I went looking last night for the video of James Foley being murdered. I couldn’t find it. Every site I went to refused to show it or offer a link to it, understandably. I stopped looking not long after I started, relieved I hadn’t found it.
The only reason I was looking for it in the first place was because I felt an obligation to this man, this journalist who was so dedicated to reporting first-hand truths to an America that has become too accustomed to hearing the news from the mouths of pundits and commentators, spinners and consultants, clots of nonstop yakkers who sit on couches in tailored suits and bright dresses giving us their opinions on things they will never see themselves. I felt an obligation to witness the final truth he was able to bring us.
He undoubtedly would have preferred to report in another way what a savage, mindless beast the civilized world is up against with this ISIS bunch. Nevertheless, he couldn’t have made the reality of that savagery any more clear to the world than he did, in the way it was done to him. I guess I felt that, seeing as how he, his family, his profession, had sacrificed so much in bringing this abomination to our full attention, the least I could do would be to watch it, to witness the full horror of his final act of a life in journalism.
But the message of James Foley's murder would be lost if Americans do not understand the true nature of the enemy, and as importantly, the true nature of what real journalists bring to us and our civilization. We cannot survive on ideological ranting. We cannot survive on opinions and political agendas and posturing. We cannot survive on reflections, echoes, interpretations and translations of the truth. We must have the truth, as reported by those relatively few men and women who go to where it is and see it, then tell us what they saw.
Let us not proclaim James Foley a hero. He was a real journalist, and that is better.