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Jewish World Review June 18, 2003/ 18 Sivan, 5763

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports

Jessica Lynch: From 'Go Girl' to 'Get Girl'

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Dear Jessica,

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to "get" you to talk to me instead of all those others. You're now "the get," you know, as in The Interview to get.

So what can I offer? I know you've gotten enough gifts and money to, well, add a second story, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a utility room, family room and a new porch with wheelchair access to your parents' house. Cool.

I also read that your house is being wired for Internet access, that you've been offered a free Hawaii vacation and that the networks have offered everything but the three wise men to get your story.

NBC's Katie Couric sent you a bunch of patriotic books, including Rudy Giuliani's "Leadership," in her bid to get your interview. Let's see, you just turned 20, got half your best bones broken, were a prisoner of war in an enemy hospital and dadgum, young lady, what you need is a reading table loaded with books on leadership and patriotism.

Like I said, I can't compete with that.

And then I read that ABC's Diane Sawyer sent you a locket with a picture of your house in it. I get it. "Home is where the heart is." It's a tad Hallmarkish for my taste, but kind of sweet. On the other hand, jewelry? I was thinking of a Glock myself, but that's just me.

Next I read that one CBS correspondent was so desperate for an interview that she started sharing astrological signs. Puleez. So Jane Clayson and you are both Tauruses. Boy, that ought to cinch the deal. Frankly, I don't know how you stand all this baloney. On the other hand, for what it's worth, I'm a Libra.

The bunker buster, I guess, has to be the CBS proposal: a two-hour CBS documentary, another program with MTV Networks, a concert in Palestine, W. Va. by a "star act" -Ashanti or Ja Rule

. Let's keep this question our little secret, but are these people? What else? Oh yeah, a book deal with Simon &Schuster.

I read that some people are upset about the CBS offer because all the pieces of the proposal come from divisions of one huge media giant, Viacom. Critics say that such a conglomerate approach to a single news item raises questions about the independence of news divisions, harrumph, harrumph.

Don't you love it when media people twist themselves into pretzels over journalism ethics? As though "the news" isn't one big group grope anyway. I guess you've figured this out by now: one story and a thousand wannabe stars by proxy. Too bad it had to be you, kiddo.

You may already know this, too, but I've got this maternal instinct that won't shut up. None of this is about you, Jessica, which is one of the hard lessons in life. No one other than your family and close friends really cares about you or your story.

Effective April 1 when you were rescued, your story became about them -Katie, Diane, Jane and the rest who hope to bounce their ratings and thus their own fame and fortunes. Once they "get" you, all that you are, have been and hope to be will be distorted by what they need you to be for them.

Let me translate a line from the CBS proposal. Here's how it reads in part: "From the distinguished reporting of CBS News to the youthful reach of MTV, we believe this is a unique combination of projects that will do justice to Jessica's inspiring story."

Translation: "If we can just get this kid to sign on the bottom line, we'll make Iraq's oil look like the penny ante in a round of five-card draw."

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't tell your story. You should. It's a great story. And I'm not saying you shouldn't get as rich as possible. Why not, and who wouldn't?

But first please consider my offer, which I extend in the spirit of "the un-get." Just a word of advice: wait. And wait. And wait some more.

Your story will always be rich and make riches, but you need time to heal, to learn and to gain insight from all you've experienced. Figure out who's in a hurry and then figure they're not your friends. In time, you'll know whom to trust and just what to do. In the meantime, get well.

Patiently Yours,
An admirer

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