Friday, May 28, 2004

Telling the truth requires courage


People who get their news by skimming the front page, or by watching TV, must be feeling confused by the sudden change in Mr. Bush's character. For more than two years after 9/11, he was a straight shooter, all moral clarity and righteousness.

But now those people hear about a president who won't tell a straight story about why he took us to war in Iraq or how that war is going, who can't admit to and learn from mistakes, and who won't hold himself or anyone else accountable. What happened?

The answer, of course, is that the straight shooter never existed. He was a fictitious character that the press, for various reasons, presented as reality.

The establishment media has many problems, but chief amongst them is cowardice. They are to easily cowed by those who scream the loudest about the imminent danger we are in and thus, by their hesitancy, they give disproportionate weight to the arguments of those who push fear, uncertainty and doubt.

The thinking goes this way: "if I report the doubts about what the Bush people are telling me and then Condi's prediction about the smoking gun being a mushroom cloud turns out to be true then I will feel responsible for downplaying their warnings."

What they fail to understand is that giving to much heed to warnings that prove to be groundless can be equally damaging to this country. The reason they don't understand it is because they don't listen as closely to those who try to offer reasoned argument on these points. It is much easier to just report the bombast rather than spend time trying to digest the thoughts of the more deliberative.

Just like everyone else, the press doesn't like nuance. Yet we live in a world of nuance and it is mature and brave individuals who stand up for nuance that ultimately lead the way to a more promising future.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home