The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, named for the journalist beheaded in 2014 by ISIS forces, had announced that at its dinner Tuesday night at the National Press Club, Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo would receive the “2019 Foley American Hostage Freedom Award.” The award would recognize Pompeo and the administration’s success at freeing Americans-held prisoners around the world.
The honor was posted online, as you see above, and Pompeo was duly invited to receive his award. However, the group’s “media sponsors” objected to a member of the Trump Administration being honored, even when the honor was well earned, and prestigious journalists, not that there are such beasts except in their own fantasies, threatened to boycott the event. Why look! There’s Christiane Amanpour as the keynote speaker! Surely she would never engage is such despicable behavior. Surely not.
It is obvious, or should be, what an ethical organization worthy of any respect should do in such a case: tell the dissenters to back off, or do their worst, for no organization can operate with any integrity if it yields to such petty, partisan extortion, and no organization is worthy of respect and support if it does. Thus is should be equally obvious what the character of the The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation and those who operate it is, since the response to this threat was to capitulate completely, disinvite Pompeo, and announce, without explanation (“This action is being taken because the directors of the Foundation are craven, pathetic lackeys, unworthy of the man it purports to memorialize and the mission it gives hollow lip service to without commitment or foritude? Nah, that wouldn’t fly…) that the award would be given to someone else, an ex-Obama administration official. Sure, that’s safe.
Asked for comment, the foundation’s Executive Director Margaux Ewen praised Pompeo but refused to address why it chose to insult and embarrass him—and also the organization—by revoking his award and invitation, saying only, “We thank Secretary Pompeo for his extraordinary efforts to bring Americans home and are grateful for all that he and this administration have accomplished to prioritize the return of our citizens.”
Wow. It’s hard to show less courage than that. Anyone who continues to support an organization capable of such craven behavior is a fool.
In a letter to Diane Foley, Foley’s mother and the foundation’s president and founder who had personally informed Pompeo of the award ,Pompeo wrote,
“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…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 [James’ father]…. The ignoble conduct of those behind this sad deed will never diminish my commitment, of the commitment of the men and women I lead, to the safe recovery of all Americans unjustly held abroad.”
Just when I think the news media has reached its nadir in its unethical, three-year tantrum against the 2016 election, and has finally demonstrated the lowest dedication to its profession’s values imaginable, it proves me wrong.
For some strange reason, this episode hasn’t been reported by the mainstream media…perhaps because there is no way to spin it, and because it exposes the ugly, unethical partisan operatives that American journalists have become.