RIP, Tom Clancy: Author, Patriot, Critic of Liberal Media Arrogance

The best-selling author Tom Clancy died at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital at the age of 66 after a brief illness. Our condolences go to Clancy’s family. Foxnews.com reports Clancy’s career was jump-started by President Reagan saying he couldn’t put down “The Hunt for Red October.” (Historian Tevi Troy confirms this.)

For liberals, Clancy’s name became synonymous with rah-rah patriotism and the military-industrial complex. Let's rewind to a Brent Baker item about a Clancy interview with Newsweek.com in 2003. Brian Braiker asked if patriotism in the U.S. creates hostility abroad. Clancy shot back that the most arrogant people in America work at the largest newspapers:

NEWSWEEK: You've said that you're proud to be American. Do you ever worry about patriotism or national pride being mistaken abroad for hubris?

TOM CLANCY: [Laughs] The people with the most hubris in America work at The New York Times and The Washington Post. The New York Times really thinks their pages are holy. They're a newspaper -- it's not holy. They make mistakes. We all make mistakes. But hubris? That's a Greek word from a long time ago. That's really a disease of kings and princes.

New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson would prove Clancy right in 2011 when she proclaimed that being named editor of The Times to be like "ascending to Valhalla." She added: "In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth." (This is some kind of sola Sulzberger doctrine.)

Clancy also slammed the media for always preferring bad news and blaming people to seeking solutions. This is a bit ironic since they’re now shaming Congress for finger-pointing:

NEWSWEEK: With the homeland security alert bouncing from yellow to orange and back again, has the government done clumsy job of keeping the public calm and informed?
  
CLANCY: Yeah, I think that's pretty stupid. And the trouble with you guys in the media is that someone does something stupid and you [attack] him. Why don't you just say, "this is stupid" and just go on? Or better yet, don't even talk about it. One of the problems I have with the news media is that you'd rather have a bad story than a good one. What you should ask is, "How do you fix it?", not, "Who got it wrong?" The first thing that people asked when the planes crashed into the twin towers was,"'whose fault is this?"  Well, it's the fault of the idiots flying the airplanes, for starters.

But you can't blame the intelligence community for not doing its job properly if you don't give it proper support, and when was the last time the media supported the CIA? If you treat 'em like dogs, they're going to urinate on the fire hydrant rather than get the burglar.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis