Sunday, January 01, 2006

Don't Believe Everything You Read

The following item, with accompanying photographs, has been circulating the Internet via email. It refers to an event that took place in December of 2004. It’s a good story, and Denzel Washington’s a good guy, but it’s also a good object lesson for the old saw, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

Don't know whether you heard about this but Denzel Washington and his family visited
the troops at Brook (sic) Army Medical Center, in San Antonio,Texas (BAMC) the other day.

This is where soldiers who have been evacuated from Germany come to be hospitalized in the United States, especially burn victims. There are some buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a Hotel where soldiers' families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the Hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on base, but as you can imagine, they are almost filled most of the time.

While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his check book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot.
The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it.

The question I have is why does (sic):

Alec Baldwin, Madonna, Sean Penn and other Hollywood types make front page news with their anti-everything America crap and Denzel Washington's Patriotism doesn't even make page 3 in the Metro section of any newspaper except the Local newspaper in San Antonio?

Here ends the piece that has been circulating on the Internet. The reason no other papers picked up the story of Denzel’s spontaneous check writing is because it didn’t happen.

No criticism of Denzel Washington is intended or implied. He did come through in “a big way,” to quote a Brooke Army Medical Center spokesperson, and now serves on the Board of Directors of Fisher Houses. See this link for verification :

It’s still a great story, and hats off to Denzel Washington for stepping up like he did. Let’s just remember not to be too quick to tar too many people with the same brush. Alec Baldwin, Madonna, and Sean Penn are loudmouths whose opinions get a lot more credence than they deserve because they’re celebrities. That’s not a media issue, that’s a media business issue.

It’s not just television and radio entertainment programming that looks at ratings anymore. Newspapers, magazines, TV and radio news, all are focused on getting maximum readers or viewers. This places the emphasis on reporting the news most people want to hear. Do you really think any reporters worth their salt thought the Michael Jackson trial was the most important thing going on in the world last June? Name two stories that received more coverage. That’s because the average mouth-breathing Joe Six-pack was interested. The media reports what Baldwin, Madonna, and Penn say because it’s easy (and therefore cheap, saving even more on the bottom line), and because people are a lot more likely to read or listen to what they say instead of someone who has made a career of studying such issues, but we never heard of.

Again, kudos to Denzel. The sad truth is, his generosity should not have been needed. We sent these people off to fight our war without anything like the support services they, and their families, need. How many of the same Joe Six-packs who teared up over this story are far more willing to bash a celebrity for being anti-war than they’re willing to insist their elected representative do anything about the situation Denzel took action on? This isn’t something on which we should be depending on charity. People acting in our name spent our tax dollars to put the troops in harm’s way; why aren’t we as vociferous about demanding those tax dollars get spent to ensure they get what they need after the inevitable consequences have taken place?

The next time anyone gets in a lather distinguishing “patriots” who support the war and those who don’t, let’s not forget that not supporting the war doesn’t mean not supporting those who fight it. Conversely, supporting the war doesn’t mean supporting the troops, or they wouldn’t have been sent there with inadequate equipment and insufficient Stateside facilities in the first place.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is very often more to a story than what meets the eye, and more to a person than the eye can behold. Thanks for the reminder.