Friday, October 26, 2007

War Ain't Hollywood

There is a good chance my readers don't give a flip about Scott Beauchamp's confabulations in his pieces depicting fictional (portrayed as real) soldier life in Iraq in The New Republic. Here's why the story matters to me: The New Republic is just one of many media sources where the facts are always in doubt. And then, when confronted with the truth, TNR, like most of the media, displays breathtaking self-unawareness. They withhold information and intimidate writers and do it without a trace of irony. Does the Fourth Column need a fifth? Given the press treatment of New Orleans, The Jena Six, Iraq, Hillary Clinton and Hsu, California Fires and everything else, yes.

Such is the state of the Mainstream Media. Believe at your own risk.

Peggy Noonan weighs in on the topic:

Journalistically, I was lucky enough to work at CBS News when it was still shaped by the influence of the Murrow boys. They knew and taught that "everyone is entitled to his own opinions"--and they had them--"but not his own facts." And I miss the rough old boys and girls of the front page, who'd greet FDR with "Snappy suit, Mr. President," who'd bribe the guard to tell them what the prisoner said on the way to the chair, and who were not rich and important but performed an extremely important social function.

They found out who, what, where, when, why. And they would have looked at the half-baked, overcooked junior Hemingway of Scott Thomas Beauchamp and said, "That sounds like a buncha hooey."
She excoriates those between 35 and 40 (now, wait just a minute!) for being weened on fantastic war stories put forth by Hollywood and then imposing that reality on the Iraq war. That may be true for some. Personally, I think her generation believes their own hype as well. Hell, while she worked for those Murrows boys her peers were smoking pot and getting groovy casting aspersions on their fellow citizen soldiers.

Noonan has a point, though. Everyone sure seems to act like this whole thing is just pretend and it's not just those ages 35-40. The threat the Western world faces is real, alright. The enemy our soldiers fight is certainly real. Soldiering, like life, is a fair bit more mundane than the TNR editors want to believe. Life ain't Hollywood. And neither is war.

H/T Ann Althouse

2 comments:

Educator-To-Be said...

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone reads The New Republic for facts.

People who read The New Republic do so for its slant on art, politics and culture (such as it is).

Readers know that the magazine has a leftward slant, but not quite the degree of lunacy prevalent at The Nation.

Readers expect TNR to be provocative and entertaining. However, I do not believe that most readers treat it as a serious publication filled with analysis, intellectual rigor and deep thought. For that, they must go elsewhere.

The TNR is sort of like The New Yorker without the latter's celebrity focus. Neither are particularly serious publications, and neither are really that much different from Vanity Fair.

Amy

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