Queen Noor of Jordan told an audience of broadcasters Monday night that it felt like her own kind of Neverland, broadcasters likely shared that sentiment as they were praised by some of their highest-profile critics.
The queen was referring not to the newly acquitted Michael Jackson's ranch, but to the fact that a former anti-war protestor (she marched with Martin Luther King) was receiving an award in the Reagan Building having just been saluted-via videotape--by two Democratic Women Senators.
Her majesty, the former Lisa Najeeb Halaby of Washington, D.C., received the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation Service to America Leadership Award for her philanthropic activities.
That and other service awards were given out at the black tie dinner Monday night in Washington (B&C was one of the principal spoonsors of the event).
Broadcasters must have felt they were in Neverland, too, hearing their praises sung by presenters FCC Commissioners Michael Cops and Jonathan Adesltein and House Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton.
Copps gave the Service to America Television Award to WXYZ-TV Detroit, saying "broadcasters serve their local communities in so many important ways."
Upton said Samaritan award winner Tribune Chairman Dennis FitzSimons and his company "wrote the book on public service," calling it "a legacy of service that will grow in the digital age."
Copps has pushed for more quantifiable public service obligations for broadcasters, while Upton has been a leading voice for stricter FCC enforcement of broadcast speech regulations.
Queen Noor, who once considered a journalism career, told broadcasters that they had a profound role in exposing the consequences of conflict, and needed to play a greater part in building common understanding and common ground.
She said that America and the Middle East do not truly see each other, that extremists drown out more moderate voices, that the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims abhor violence and the 9/11 attacks, and that the media can "empower and amplify the voices of the silent majority of moderates."