In his April 19 op-ed column, Colman McCarthy wrote: "George W. Bush lectured the world that you're either with us or against us. America's [TV] networks got the message: They're with. They could have said that they're neither with nor against, because no side has all the truth or all the lies and no side all the good or evil. But a declaration such as that would have required boldness and independence of mind."

Mr. McCarthy is wrong.

A declaration such as that would have required something more than boldness and independence of mind: It would have required utter indifference to the responsibilities of media personalities as citizens of a democracy that, in fighting extremist and totalitarian terrorism (the conflict about which President Bush made his comment), protects their freedom of expression and employment.

Objectivity is accuracy, not neutrality. It is difficult to imagine Edward R. Murrow reporting from London in 1941 in the spirit that Mr. McCarthy recommends, and arguing in the case of Adolf Hitler, to quote Mr. McCarthy, that "no side has all the truth or all the lies and no side all the good or evil."

I'd be curious, but not too curious, to know what lies and evil were present on the Allied side in World War II. French or other journalists may consider themselves bystanders or mere observers in the war against terrorism. American journalists cannot.




The juxtaposition of articles by Colman McCarthy and Abraham Brumberg on the April 19 op-ed page is quite instructive.

Mr. McCarthy accuses television networks of being "with" the government on the war in Iraq and ignoring voices opposed to the war.

Mr. Brumberg's article commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The uprising began when the German army entered the Warsaw Ghetto to murder the remaining Jewish inhabitants.

Mr. Brumberg's recounting of the events in Warsaw shows Mr. McCarthy to be wrong: There are times when the line between truth and lies and good and evil is crystal clear. There are times when lies and evil must be confronted with violence. World War II was one of those times. So is Iraq.