Tags: journalists | media | violence | memorial

Fmr. Rep. Dreier Seeks Memorial for Fallen Journalists

A shooting at the Capital Gazette in Maryland left five dead in 2018
A shooting at the Capital Gazette in Maryland left five dead in 2018 (Patrick Semansky/AP)

By Thursday, 25 July 2019 08:33 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Almost as much as any American who wears the uniform of his country or the police officer on an unsafe beat, a journalist puts his life on the line to let readers or viewers know just how dangerous it is out there.

"Dateline: Danger" is no hackneyed phrase. George Polk was a 34-year-old CBS Radio reporter who covered Greece during its post-World War II civil war. He was shot dead in May 1948 while investigating embezzlement of U.S. foreign aid by the Greek government.

In more recent times, Stars and Stripes photographer Paul David Savanuck was one of many correspondents who lost his life covering the Vietnam War. ABC News reporter Bill Stewart died in 1979 as he reported on the leftist revolution in Nicaragua.

More recently, on June 28, 2018, five employees of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland were killed as a gunman broke into their offices wielding a shotgun.

But how many tragic incidents such as these are remembered long after they occurred and how many of the fallen journalists are remembered and memorialized?

The answer, sadly, is "not too many."

Someone who wants to change this is former Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., who served in Congress for 32 years and then demonstrated what his political hero Ronald Reagan used to say: "There are second acts in life."

As chairman of the Tribune Publishing Company, Dreier oversees an organization that includes the storied Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, and the Capital Gazette.

But Dreier is doing more than that. The former congressman now spearheads a movement to honor journalists who have given their lives in the cause of their job — reporting the news.

On June 26, 2019, Dreier announced plans for the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation. Its goal is, through private donations, to build a memorial in the Washington, D.C. area commemorating journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty.

In effect, the monument to fallen journalists is cut from the mold of the World Wars I and II Memorials, the Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial.

"This is in no way a political statement," he emphasized during a press conference at the National Press Club. "We want Democrats and Republicans to come together to recognize how vital this project is."

Along those lines, Reps, Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., and Tom Cole, R.-Okla., have introduced H.R. 3465 to authorize construction of the Fallen Journalists Memorial. Its companion measure in the Senate is S.1969, which is being introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin, D.-Md., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

All four lawmakers joined Dreier at the National Press Club unveiling the proposal. The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation also unveiled an advisory board that stretches across ideological lines with members such as former Washington Post chairman Don Graham, retired ABC and Fox News anchorman Brit Hume, and Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy.

Dreier later told Newsmax that while there is considerable bashing of the news media these days, it must never be forgotten that virtually all that is great in American history has been directly related to the press.

"Two New York papers in 1787 reprinted the 85 documents that made our form of government happen — the Federal Papers," he noted, adding with pride his role at the helm of the parent company of the Chicago Tribune.

"That was the first paper to endorse Abraham Lincoln for President in 1860, citing his 'intellect, honesty, firmness, and patriotism,'" said Dreier.

Returning to the 2018 massacre in the Capital Gazette that claimed the lives of five employees, Dreier underscored that this was "the single deadliest assault against journalists in U.S. history" and convinced him that those in the Fourth Estate who made the supreme sacrifice on their beats never be forgotten.

"And we must never forget that journalists give us a healthy Jeffersonian skepticism about our government," he stressed. "Journalists are the keepers of democracy and the cornerstone of our Republic."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Former congressman David Dreier, R-Calif., is spearheading a movement to honor journalists killed in the line of duty via a monument in the Washington, D.C. area.
journalists, media, violence, memorial
Thursday, 25 July 2019 08:33 AM
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