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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 17, Issue 1, Spring 2003

Wendy Barger
Pages 47-58

Voice for America?
A Feminist Analysis of Thomas Friedman’s Pulitzer-Winning Commentary

In April 2002, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for a series of columns he wrote in the months following September 11. On the surface, the columns seemed to fit Cummins Gauthier’s criteria for public grieving: they engaged readers emotionally; they empathized with victims and survivors; and they helped readers develop moral attitudes, opinions and responses. However, in analyzing the columns from a feminist ethic of care perspective—one that expands the boundaries of the moral community beyond the borders of a nation-state—one finds that Friedman’s columns can distort the process of public grieving, leading citizens toward anger and an “us” verus “them” mentality rather than healing and a genuine concern that embraces the value of all human beings.