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Under God,
for Revival
Daily Oklahoman

As printed in the December 31, 2001 edition


Editorial in the Daily Oklahoman

Each year, the editor of The Oklahoman's editorial page, Pat McGuigan, serves as a judge for the Media Research Center's "Notable Quotables" awards, compiling examples of liberal news media bias as uttered by the nation's best-known journalists.

This year, besides the usual negative catalogue, judges chose quotes described as "Glimpses of Patriotism." The best example of positive media coverage came from Lance Morrow, writing for Time magazine after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11:

"For once, let's have no 'grief counselors' standing by with banal consolations, as if the purpose, in the midst of all this, were merely to make everyone feel better as quickly as possible. We shouldn't feel better. For once, let's have no fatuous rhetoric about 'healing.' Healing is inappropriate now, and dangerous. There will be time later for the tears of sorrow. A day cannot live in infamy without the nourishment of rage. Let's have rage....

"As the bodies are counted, into the thousands and thousands, hatred will not, I think, be a difficult emotion to summon. Is the medicine too strong? Call it, rather, a wholesome and intelligent enmity....Anyone who does not loathe the people who did these things, and the people who cheer them on, is too philosophical for decent company....The worst times, as we see, separate the civilized of the world from the uncivilized. This is the moment of clarity. Let the civilized toughen up, and let the uncivilized take their chances in the game they started."

Tony Snow, a well-known conservative commentator, was one runner-up. Concluding the Sept. 16 edition of "Fox News Sunday," Snow offered these reflections:

"The United States had a spirit before it had a name -- one of faith and freedom, of ambition tempered by piety. We once were a nation of neighbors and friends -- we are again today. We once were a nation of hardship-tested dreamers -- we are again today. We once were a nation under God -- we are again today. Our enemies attacked one nation, they will encounter another, for they underestimated us. Today in our grief and in our rage, our determination and hope, we've summoned what's best and noblest in us. We are again Americans."

One of the most poignant moments on recent broadcast television came when Tim Russert, moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," concluded the Sept. 16 broadcast this way:

"I have spent this week wiping my eyes and grinding my teeth and wondering why. I've drawn strength from a story about a man I knew, Father Mychal Judge. The chaplain of the New York City Fire Department, a Franciscan, he raced to the World Trade Center after the explosion to comfort the injured. While administering the last rites to a dying rescue worker, he himself was killed by flying debris. New York's bravest physically carried Father Mike away....

"Together, firemen, priests, and brothers wept and sang the prayer of St. Francis, 'May the Lord bless and keep you and show his face to you and have mercy on you.' That is the way of New York. That is the spirit of America."

Such a prayer was first recorded in the Book of Numbers, a catalogue of ancient Israel as the tribes wandered in the desert. Eventually, they reached the promised land.

The Oklahoman salutes colleagues in print and broadcast journalism who this past year delivered news and commentary worthy of our profession's best traditions. Human history catalogues birth, growth, ascent, decline, degradation -- and rebirth. The year 2001 began with evidence that people in these United States were adrift in a sea of moral relativism, uncertain of, even unfamiliar with, our own best traditions. Even now, too many would surrender ordered liberty to gain fleeting security.

Yet 2001 ends with rational hopes that the evil ones who sought to destroy the American spirit underestimated a great nation's residual strengths. They, and many here at home, did not perceive that fresh breeze sweeping the nation. The true promised land will never come in this fallen world, but those who work wisely can build in corners of America -- and in corners of the world -- something better than what they found.

U.S. Marines and Special Forces are in the desert -- not wandering, but seeking the foe, so ours might remain a land of promise. This is indeed a time of clarity. Remembering the dead, may we witness a prelude of renewal, restoration and revival.

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