- The Washington Times
Sunday, May 31, 2020

Journalists have been in harm’s way before. They were embedded with the U.S. military in recent wartime conflicts, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some 800 journalists went to Afghanistan in fact, toting gas masks and learning to report on that war for better or worse. Some members of the media were asked by the Pentagon to attend a military-style boot camp to prepare them to cover a war in Iraq, this after troops complained of having to wait for “flabby, unfit journalists to keep up with them,” noted The Guardian in 2002.

At the time, the news organization noted that “would-be war correspondents” learned how to board helicopters carrying their own gear, take a 5-kilometer tactical road march and get friendly with “survival-level navigation skills.”


Which brings us to journalists now on riot duty following George Floyd’s death a deeply disturbing event that sparked rioting in some 27 major cities in the last 72 hours. Journalists have been both attacked and arrested — prompting the Society of Professional Journalists to speak up. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, the organization represents about 6,000 journalists. On Sunday, the group sent an open letter on behalf of journalists to both police and protestors, asking them to “please let us do our jobs” as public unrest continues.

“Let us not forget, reporters, producers, videographers and photographers are humans too. Trying to make a living. Trying to flesh out the truth. We should not be put in any danger for doing our jobs. As you well know, journalists have a constitutional right to cover these stories and the public has a right to know what is happening in their backyards,” the organization said.

“Please do not target, intimidate, humiliate or block our efforts from reporting the news during this historic time. Before taking any aggressive actions toward us, take a moment, take a breath, and decide to do the right thing and let us do our jobs,” the group advised.

THE NUMBERS WARM UP

Many Republicans and conservatives wonder how many barriers will be thrown at President Trump and his administration as the election nears, including push-back and challenges delivered by the news media or canny political strategists. It just might be all for naught, however.

“President Trump’s prospects of winning a second term in office will be closely tied to the level of his job approval rating. Historically, all incumbents with an approval rating of 50% or higher have won reelection, and presidents with approval ratings much lower than 50% have lost,” writes Gallup analyst Jeffrey M. Jones.

And? Gallup’s current job approval rating for Mr. Trump now stands at 49% — as of the president’s 1,409th day in office in mid-May.

A BRIEF REALITY CHECK

Meanwhile, George Floyd’s death continues to resonate around the nation for many reasons, some of them faith-based.

“Violent demonstrators from Minneapolis to Atlanta continue to storm city streets in the worst nationwide breakout of civil disobedience in decades, while in the middle of a global pandemic over the novel Wuhan coronavirus,” writes Tristan Justice, a staff writer at The Federalist.

“As churches remain shut down in much of the country for the sake of social distancing, the ruthless rioting paid no mind to the ongoing public health emergency that has prompted large-scale lockdowns changing modern life as we know it and wrecking the world economy in the process,” Mr. Justice notes.

LEGAL EAGLE

Attorney General William Barr now cites the influence of anarchists and “groups of outside radicals and agitators” in what should have been peaceful protests following the aforementioned death of George Floyd.

Mr. Barr prompted one thoughtful observer to make a recommendation.

“Our existing laws, at both the federal and state levels, are more than adequate to the task of dealing with terrorism and seditionist violence. The Justice Department and the FBI, including the bureau’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces (partnerships with police authorities in major cities throughout the country), are highly experienced and adept in this area, and they have the resources to get the job done,” writes Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy, in an essay.

“The job needs doing. The ravaging of our major cities right now is a violation of the rights of peace-loving Americans, both those who are legitimately exercising their First Amendment rights to protest, and those who are going about their lives expecting the governmental protection to which the Constitution entitles them,” Mr. McCarthy continues.

“For society to flourish, the rule of law must assert itself. Justice must be done, which means bringing anti-American domestic terrorists to heel. Rioters can and will do immense damage if, as some foolishly suggest, we wait for them to exhaust themselves. The failure to confront radicals only increases their energy and appetite to do harm. Order does not happen spontaneously. It takes a commitment to enforce the laws,” he concludes.

CORONAVIRUS CULTURE: MAKING HEADWAY

Quarantines and social distancing continue as usual. Consumer culture and advertising related to the coronavirus pandemic are evolving, however.

“I’ve noticed that the TV commercials have gone from lachrymose, piano-dribbling quarantine themes to something more open and optimistic,” writes Glenn Reynolds, founder of Instapundit, the political and culture news site.

POLL DU JOUR

• 60% of likely Democratic voters say it is important for presidential hopeful Joseph R. Biden’s running mate to be a woman.

• 18% of likely Democratic voters favor Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California as his running mate.

• 17% favor Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, 14% favor Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.

• 12% favor former Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams, 9% want “some other candidate.”

• 8% favor both Michael R. Bloomberg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; 6% favor Pete Buttigieg.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters conducted May 26-27. Respondents were given a list of running mates to choose from.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com


Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.