Ethics Dunce, And Cowards Too: The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation

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.


16 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce, And Cowards Too: The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation

  1. Stupid. At the very least they should have floated a trial balloon or two to see if there would be overreaction before naming Secretary Pompeo as an honoree, and give themselves a way out without embarrassing all concerned. The ironic thing is that a lot of folks will spin this as Pompeo getting “owned” or “schooled.” Actually the latter fits, because this IS schoolyard behavior, worthy of a fifth grader.

  2. Wow. That is a new level of . . . what? Cowardice? Partisan politics? Viciousness? Defiance? Hatred? Disrespect? Dementia? Derangement?

    How could they justify giving the award to an Obama official? Are they that blind to reality?


  3. I believe I heard about this on Fox this morning or on WMAL.

    Why doesn’t the Foley Foundation simply get new sponsors. Pompeo was gracious to the Foley’s but they are demonstrating that the award is not really to honor some actual work but to placate the perpetually aggrieved. How many citizens held abroad have been released as a result of the media. Zero.

  4. No idea who the media partners pressuring the foundation were, nor how they could rationally threaten a boycott or demonstration, if that was the case, given the Administration’s progress in getting journalists released. But unless my Googling skills have gone completely defunct, this was, for much of the so-called mainstream media, a non-event. Foley Freedom Awards plus, take your pick, NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, as search terms produced nothing related to the actual event, at least not in the first couple of pages of results. So, moral cowardice, yes, and not just within the foundation.
    I suspect funding is the underlying issue, with maybe a generous seasoning of TDS.
    Back in my grad school days, the Prof said he could not publish my paper on the efforts of the ACLU to suppress information about fees paid to speakers by state supported colleges. It was, he said, well-written, accurate, and compelling. But, the ACLU was a major financial supporter of the Freedom of Information Center, which he headed. They would not take kindly to revealing their opposition to those speaking fees, paid by taxpayers. So, he had to suppress information to protect freedom of information.
    Sadly, with a mere 579 days until the election, information control is critical. We absolutely cannot do anything to put our opponents in a favorable light.

    • There was a list of past sponsors on the site-

      ‘Morgan Stanley, The New York Times, CNN, Facebook, HBO, NBCUniversal, International Spy Museum Sting & Trudie Styler, Twitter, Medill, David & Katherine Bradley Gregg & Elizabeth Roark and more’

      • The comments should tell you all you need to know about the WaPo’s readership. According to the first dozen or so, the President is a piece of excrement, the president is a nursery rhyme character (Trumpty Dumpty, how original), the writer’s IQ is subterranean and everyone knows it, TDS just means you’re opposed to evil like a normal person, and the Washington Post should shut down coverage of anything this regime has to say.

        So let’s see here: juvenile insults, insulting the writer’s intelligence because the reader disagrees with him, saying that being reflexively and obnoxiously opposed to an administration is good when it’s THIS administration, and the media should turn against this administration and do anything to undermine it. If I wrote that Obama was a POS, which I admit I did, or called him Dumbo, or said anyone who supported him was an idiot, or that his administration was leading us past the ballot box and the soap box to the cartridge box, I guarantee you that the same people who spewed this would be all over me calling me racist, traitor, and worse. The double standard here is sickening.

  5. I emailed the foundation yesterday, received a response today.
    I said their decision to rescind the award was shameful, and their further decision not to disclose their reasons publicly was also shameful. I pointed out that their website used the term moral courage which they were sorely lacking.
    Their reply was that the award was rescinded because “… we ultimately decided we could not present the award as planned due to the dramatic change in circumstances when the Administration did not press for genuine accountability from the Saudi government for the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
    They have made that rationale public today. I don’t believe their statement is the whole truth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.