Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bizarre Opening Question by Press Corps to Isreali Ambassador

I sat in a BBQ shack waiting for my lunch today when CNN was covering the statement and Q&A of the Isreali Ambassador to the US. The opening question to the ambassador was something along the lines of...

"Ambassador? Are you aware of the historcal fact that that in 1864, George Custer hung 8 men and the furor over that didn't cease until 8 more men, union soldiers were hung..."

At which point the ambassador interrupted and basically said that he wasn't here for a US history lesson....

Question. Where was the reporter going with this?

First of all, most Americans would be doing well to recall who Mr. Custer was.

Was the reporter trying to tailer a response that he could soundbyte into his already written article? Was the reporter trying to impress his colleagues wth his historical acumen?

I think the reporter was referring to this bit o history:

Custer was also blamed erroneously for the execution of six Mosby's Rangers at Front Royal on September 23. In fact, Merritt had commanded the force that captured the Rangers, but Custer was present when four of the men were shot down in a field behind the Methodist Church -- one in front of his screaming mother -- and two others were hanged from a nearby walnut tree. The flamboyant Custer was easily the most recognizable Yankee on hand for the killings, and residents of the town mistakenly labeled him the chief perpetrator of the outrage. Mosby, who had not been present for the initial attack, began stockpiling any Custer troopers he managed to capture, and on November 6, at Rectorville, he had 27 Federal prisoners draw numbered slips of paper to determine which seven would be executed in reprisal for the murders at Front Royal and the slaying of a seventh Confederate prisoner on October 13. The unlucky seven were led away (two managed to escape) and executed, with a note left dangling from one of the bodies, reading: "These men have been hung in retaliation for an equal number of Colonel Mosby's men hung by order of General Custer, at Front Royal. Measure for measure."

The reprisals at Rectorville put an end to the most blatant violations of military code, but they left behind a festering bitterness in Custer and his men.

Are our press corps so out of touch that they can't ask relevant and pertinent questions regarding current events?

Granted, as a student of history, we should study it and find patterns or lessons that we can apply to events/conflicts today. I just wonder where this odd line of questioning was headed prior to being interrupted.

And for that matter, I wish our media would do a better job of reporting on interviews. I'd love to read the inane questions by reporters of officials/interviewees and have each question accurately attrbuted to the reporter/publication posing the question. Would help keep responses by quoted personse in the proper context and be harder to portray answers out of context.