Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Agony and Irony

It's with bitter irony that on the same day Pat Tillman's family and Jessica Lynch testified before a congressional committee about the Pentagon's abusive adulturation of their stories for the purposes of its ongoing propaganda and misinformation about the war in Iraq that we learn of the death of David Halberstam. I found this tribute to the journalist, the relevant passages below:

Halberstam told The Nation magazine that today the United States is what he called an "entertainment society. We want to be entertained more than we want to think. It's a serious problem. We're the most powerful nation in the world, but our network broadcast is increasingly about celebrity, sex, and scandal. It's less about substance than it used to be. It's not as good as it should be. And it makes us a more volatile society. We pay very little attention to the rest of the world, then when the rest of the world doesn't act in concert with us and salute us, we're very angry."

The corporate ownership of newspapers today means that the kind of aggressive reporting that characterized journalism in the 1960s and 1970s, bringing down the presidency of Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign in 1973, is no longer possible. That kind of clamorous, insistent reporting by major news organizations in the face of public opinion, no matter how erroneous that opinion may be, fanned by jingoists waving the bloody shirt, causes editors and stockholders big headaches.

As school children in this country, we are taught that we have a "free press" in America because it's not controlled by the government. But we can't pretend that corporate-owned media is unbiased, just as we must be watchful in monitoring the relationship between our government and those very corporations that are doing the broadcasting and printing.

Does Halberstam's death mark the demise of critical thought and forthright, unbiased reporting in the United States? It's up to us to make sure it doesn't, and we must be vigilant.


At Thursday, April 26, 2007 7:45:00 AM, Blogger Prunella Jones said...

I agree with this post 100%!I've never understood why the whole country freaked out because Clinton got a blow job but Bush can start a bullshit war and still not be impeached? I am so disgusted by the war in Iraq. It's nothing but rich old men grinding axes and getting richer. And sending the poor to do their fighting for them as usual.

At Thursday, April 26, 2007 8:28:00 AM, Blogger LET'S TALK said...

Halberstam is right, we were given a very good show about our hero's in Iraq no matter how big of a lie it really was.

We loved it so that we have yet to complain about the truth being a fact and the lie being just that, a lie.

Just as prunella jones said; We as a country freaked out about Clinton and sex while Bush started a war based on lies and we still have not called for his impeachment.

At Thursday, April 26, 2007 9:10:00 AM, Blogger EditThis said...

I'm with you 100% and totally agree with Prunella. I've always felt the same way about the Clinton thing. And our press is anything but "free" - it's all about money and advertisers driving the machine of propaganda.

At Thursday, April 26, 2007 9:53:00 AM, Blogger GetFlix said...

There will never be a demise of critical thought in this country.

At Thursday, April 26, 2007 12:52:00 PM, Blogger Diane said...

I agree with all of the above, and I hope flix is right . . .

At Thursday, April 26, 2007 5:39:00 PM, Blogger v said...

A very poignant and insightful post LA. And it's very insightful that Halberstam's quote mentions Nixon. We only found out about the abuses of the Nixon administration (which was elected twice, like G.W. Bush) thanks to investigative journalism (Watergate back then and and then later thanks to the access to records). The current Bush admin has limited the access to Presidential Records under the guise of security post 9/11 (Nov 2001). Thankfully, Congress this year has a bill that will repeal the restrictive order. And it seems to be veto-proof. For more info check out this wiki entry.

One would think we would have learned from the lessons of Nixon, but it seems we haven't yet.

And while I agree with Getflix that critical thought is at the core of this nation, sometimes it seems that not enough people are listening or that the powers-that-be (certain corporations and the government officials they fund) are far too successful in restricting and obfuscating critical thought.

At Saturday, April 28, 2007 11:29:00 AM, Blogger LA said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. And V, thanks for the wiki entry. That's something to watch.

At Saturday, April 28, 2007 4:41:00 PM, Blogger Diane said...

la - have a blast at Sedaris!

At Saturday, April 28, 2007 6:05:00 PM, Blogger joy said...

I need to watch more real news and less Extra Extra.

At Sunday, April 29, 2007 10:36:00 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

Oh, I whole heartedly agree with you Joy!

LA- I hope you had a good time listening to the musings and stories of David Sedaris. I am jealous!


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