Reporters get dinged no matter which way they go. The current reporting on Japan and its nuclear power plants is an excellent example of both styles of reporting: overhype or underplaying the problem. The troubles along the coast of North Africa and now Arabian lands are another one.
Actually, the problem isn’t new. Back in the 60s, radicals assembled large crowds for anti-war protest against the War in Vietnam – THEY WERE STUNNED TO SEE NOTHING IN THE PAPER THE NEXT DAY. Newspapers, then the biggest elephant in the world of news. Sure, you could see the grave talking heads on TV – but it didn’t happen until there was a story in the newspaper about it – preferably the NYTimes, Chicago Trib or LATimes.
It would be interesting to study the turnaround. When did anti-war protests became THE big story for years? Why? Who were the players – the editors, the reporters, the radicals, the photographers, who joined to make it a big story?
Of course they went overboard and damaged a generation of soldiers and anti-war people, by yelling at returning soldiers as if the war was their fault. After that the tide turned again and the general public was so opposed to ANY protests of ANY warlike activity that U.S. Presidents felt safe sending soldiers anywhere in the world.
IFO isn’t sure about whether the tide had turned again. After seeing how badly the aftermath of the war in Iraq turned out, the turning was about to happen. Then the latest President’s advisors realized that War is the Health of the State, and decided to fire up the war in Afghanistan again. Sure enough, the President’s popularity polls stopped dropping.
The quote above has been floating around in our head for decades, but thanks to Wikipedia, we now know the author: “Randolph Silliman Bourne (May 30, 1886 – December 22, 1918) was a progressive writer and “leftist intellectual” born in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and a graduate of Columbia University. Bourne is best known for his essays, especially his unfinished work “The State,” discovered after his death.”
After reading about his tragic life, we have no doubt he would have become a libertarian in a few more years.
As always, when reviewing reported events it behooves us to consider consequences of action and reaction, and to keep an open mind about whether what we are reading is accurately reporting the facts.