Reader David R. (he prefers anonymity) shared with us a letter he sent to NPR over the on—air behavior of Daniel Schorr. Since NPR receives tax money, it has an obligation to be both fair and accurate. Here is the letter:
Dear Mr. Scott Simon,
Daniel Schorr almost got through a news analysis on your Saturday morning show without a cheapshot at the President, but could not resist concluding with a snide and irrelevant remark about how Mr. Bush had "tried so hard" to avoid going to Viet Nam in his youth.
In this regard I would like to make two points to you and to NPR:
1. In this and in many other instances Mr. Schorr has made it clear that he has strong personal biases, and also that they color his reportage. Your own transcripts will offer hundreds of examples, by my memory. His value as an honest source of news analysis is highly questionable, and in giving him standing as your "Senior News Analyst" you cheapen the NPR brand profoundly.
2. Secondly, it is a fact that the young Mr. Bush did volunteer for duty in Viet Nam after he had completed his flight training, but that at that point in time, the aircraft he was trained to fly was being retired from overseas combat, and his thus there was no demand for his skills there.
The whole meme of the future President "avoiding" Viet Nam is based on the fact that he would not (and could not) volunteer for overseas duty when reporting for flight training, because it would have rather obviously conflicted with the flight training he HAD volunteered for. It may comes as a surprise to the NPR staff, but in order for the Air Force to make the investment of nearly a million dollars to "make" a pilot, a young man had to commit to the going through the training! I might as well ask you, Scott, why you are sitting in a warm studio fulfilling your contract, instead of out on the cold streets comforting the homeless! By the same logic the media applies to Mr. Bush's actions, this proves that you are a mean—spirited, greedy person!
George W. Bush qualified for that training by virtue of having a college degree, being in excellent health, and being willing to commit several years of his life to a role for which there were constant shortages. He did not jump to the front of any line: for what he was qualified to do, there was no line! Yes, there was a line for non—degreed enlistees wanting to be in the ANG, but in the officer positions required of pilot trainees, the ANG was begging for applicants. No doubt most of the recent Yale grads were out helping the poor.
Mr. Schorr is well aware of these facts, but slyly keeps re—playing the canard that Mr. Bush somehow exhibited cowardice and took advantage of family connections when he volunteered to undergo several years of full—time, dangerous as hell, flight training. I would wager that Mr. Schorr has never done anything half so brave — I know I haven't — and it is about time he and NPR apologized for the knowing slander he is allowed to utter on your radio network nearly every week.
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