The Corner

Fourth Estate, Fifth Column

That NYT photo brings to mind something Mike Wallace once said, infamously:

On an edition of the PBS panel series Ethics in America, devoted to war coverage, which was taped at Harvard in late 1987, Mike Wallace proclaimed that if he were traveling with enemy soldiers he would not warn U.S. soldiers of an impending ambush. “Don’t you have a higher duty as an American citizen to do all you can to save the lives of soldiers rather than this journalistic ethic of reporting fact?”, moderator Charles Ogletree Jr. suggested. Without hesitating, Wallace responded: “No, you don’t have higher duty…you’re a reporter.” When Brent Scrowcroft, the then-future National Security Adviser, argued that “you’re Americans first, and you’re journalists second,” Wallace was mystified by the concept…

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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