The James W. Foley Memorial Foundation yanked its “2019 Foley American Hostage Freedom Award” from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, after receiving backlash from Donald Trump administration media critics.
Don’t blame the Foley Foundation. Fault instead the whining media critics that prompted the foundation's reversal.
The foundation was named for the first American citizen beheaded by Islamic State terrorists. Making Foley’s 2014 murder especially tragic, he was a journalist covering the war on terror — not a combatant.
The foundation initially announced that Pompeo would be the awardee at the National Press Club Tuesday, in recognition of his efforts to free Americans held prisoner around the world, which inspired the appointment of a “special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.”
After media complaints and threats to disrupt the awards ceremony, the foundation withdrew Pompeo’s name, disinvited him to the event, and gave his award to Obama-era diplomat Brett McGurk, who was instrumental in the release of U.S. hostages held by Iran.
Journalist Jason Rezaian was among those hostages, and received the group’s journalism award.
By mid-October the Trump administration had already freed 19 hostages, without offering a single prisoner or one red cent in return. Last month the administration announced Yemen’s release of oil worker Danny Burch, ending his 18-month incarceration.
In contrast, Iran released four American hostages in 2016, including The Washington Post’s Rezaian, after the payment of $1.7 billion in cash, $400 million of which was considered an outright ransom.
Pompeo accepted the news with his customary good grace.
“I understand that the Foundation decided to rescind the Freedom Award and my invitation to attend the 2019 James W. Foley Freedom Awards due to pressure from its media partners and your fear, stated in your letter, that some guests at the dinner would not show my office proper respect if I attended,” wrote Pompeo.
“How sad is it that base politics and hatred have been allowed to creep into even this sphere of our national activity? The safe recovery of Americans held hostage overseas should be beyond politics and must enjoy the support of all Americans. I regret that pressure of such a cynical and abominable nature was brought to bear on you and John,” he continued.
The contrast of Pompeo’s graceful acceptance of the disappointing news with the media’s refusal to accept the secretary as the foundation’s awardee reveals a greater problem in American society — that the “tolerant left” is only tolerant when it gets its way.
This trend can perhaps be traced back the new custom of awarding participation trophies, so that the “also rans” don’t get their feelings hurt.
Not getting one’s feelings hurt has since become a fundamental right in society — one that even trumps the First Amendment. Students routinely veto the campus appearance of any speaker with whom they disagree.
Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is the poster girl of this trend. In 2016, when then-presidential candidate Trump suggested he may not accept defeat, Abrams claimed that statement made him unfit for office.
“Trump's refusal to concede the election if he loses proves he is a petty man uninterested in our national stability,” she tweeted.
Yet today, five months after her own loss to Republican Brian Kemp, she still won’t concede.
Appearing at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention Wednesday, she told the crowd, “I have one very affirmative statement to make: We won.”
For nearly two years Democratic lawmakers couldn’t wait for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, who was looking in to possible Trump wrongdoing. Now that it appears to exonerate the president, they want to pick it apart and question its conclusions.
Congressional Democrats also demand the last six years of tax returns of billionaire-turned-politician Trump, while ignoring those of politicians who became millionaires while in office.
At a Fox News town hall Thursday, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the Kansas City participants that “this is a no-hate zone.” Most of America used to be a no-hate zone. Tempers occasionally flared, but were just as quickly forgotten.
Universities are now setting up “free-speech zones.” The entire campus of every college and university used to be a free-speech zone.
The difference between “then” and “now” is that then we accepted differences of opinion as well as defeat — they were a part of life. We’ve since lost that ability.
Coming back to Pompeo, the recipient of the Foley Freedom Award is within the sole discretion of the Foley Foundation — neither the press nor anyone else has veto power. If a group of professionals referring to itself as an unbiased press can’t accept news dispassionately and with the same grace as did Pompeo, they should seek other work.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.
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