It isn't very often that I hear Scott Pelley offer an op-ed piece as a part of a news broadcast. So when he closed the CBS Evening News of Friday, 9 January, 2015 with his observations on the attacks in Paris and how freedom of the press figures into the whole situation of terrorism, I thought it was notable enough to make mention of it here. Mr. Pelley makes simple, straightforward points which resonate in the current time, and I believe his words are worthy of your attention.
A transcript of Mr. Pelley's commentary follows; the original broadcast may be found here.
Someone asked us today if the French magazine acted irresponsibly by publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammad. Couldn't all of this have been avoided if Charlie Hebdo had been more sensible?
Most freedoms are limited. Gun ownership is restricted. You're free to travel but you're not free to run red lights. So why is freedom to publish, freedom to speak, absolute?
Because there is no democracy without journalism. And the strength of a people depends on the quality of their information.
Charlie Hebdo staked out extremes, and so, helped define a broad space for every voice. Eight of its journalists died knowing the risk.
American reporters James Foley and Steven Sotloff were silenced by ISIS months ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists tells us 61 reporters died in the line of duty in 2014.
The enemy knows our vulnerability. Silence is the end of freedom.
-- Scott Pelley, CBS News