Thomas Sowell

Does anyone know of any war where there were not innocent civilians killed? That is one of many things that makes war so hideous. But you don't get out of a war by pretending that you are not in it. The terrorists put us at war on September 11th. We could bury our heads in the sand and do nothing, but that would not stop them -- and others -- from inflicting more of the same on us. Our only hope of deterring more such attacks is by killing those responsible and letting others know that it is going to cost them dearly if they try anything like it.

There seems to be some hand-wringing among some in the media about whether they can be patriotic Americans and at the same time report the news objectively. But the truth is the truth, regardless of whose side you are on. Sometimes it is hard to know the truth, but you don't get around that by reporting every claim by an enemy regime with a long history of lying -- and then pretending to believe that it is just as credible as what you have learned from more reliable sources.

Much of the media has a confusion between being objective and creating an arbitrary "balance" between "the two sides."

Objectivity is about facts. Medical science can be objective about the facts about a disease without being neutral as between the bacteria and the patient. Medical researchers' objectivity about the facts is what enables them to discover how to save the patient's life and kill the bacteria.

News-gathering does not have to stop during a war. But news is what has actually happened. Rumors and speculation are not news. Nor are American military plans news. Reporting these plans and jeopardizing Americans' lives is espionage.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate