So Who Got the Story Wrong?

Ever wonder why news media organizations are so resistant to issuing apologies for stories they are alleged to have gotten wrong?

It's because the person or institution wanting the apology has sometimes got it wrong.

Take for instance our story last Friday about the Orange County California chapter of the American Red Cross that told a teen choir group it couldn't perform songs with references to God or politics at a Sept. 11 memorial service. Included in the ban were God Bless America, America the Beautiful and a song about the Declaration of Independence. Why? Because they might offend someone.

I was asking... who? Who would be offended?

Well, the reaction I got was surprising. You would have thought we'd shot somebody's mother. Red Cross representatives from Washington D.C. had a vice president of this organization on the phone within ten minutes demanding a retraction and an apology, denying their chapter head in Orange County had done any such thing.

The next day (Saturday), they had our in-house counsel — the lawyer — on the phone demanding a retraction and an apology.

You will notice we didn't do either. Why? Because we got it right. Correct. Dead on.

But — as we suspected they might — the Red Cross has issued an apology of its own on its Web site for the intemperate remarks made by a representative of its Orange County office.

Now remember... this ham-fisted attempt at loony tunes political correctness started off as an attempt not to offend atheists — who might be offended by references to God — or Buddhists and Muslims, who might also be offended because — as the Red Cross saw it — references to God must mean a Christian God.

The Declaration of Independence is an admittedly political document, but is still the document on which we base our freedom. So why would we worry about someone who says he's against the Declaration of Independence? What kind of thinking is that?

Anyway... I got about 5,000 emails from viewers saying they'd never donate another dime to the Red Cross again.

I can't argue with that. I wouldn't either until I was assured that the kinds of dunderheads, like those involved in this mess, were all fired. That includes the bullies who call network vice presidents demanding apologies when — in fact — they are the ones who should be apologizing.

That's My Word.

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