James Taranto points out a report, not widely touted by the establishment press, of grisly torture by our enemies in Iraq. If you follow the links, you’ll see descriptions of evil deeds like those portrayed for entertainment in the movie Hostel and reports of men freed by our troops. Yet on this Memorial Day weekend, we get no above-the-fold coverage on this, no evidence for the reason Mr. Bush called them evil.
Patrick Henry’s words about another American conflict seem to fit, and on this weekend, I recommend them in honor of those who have given their lives in defense of our freedom and their own families.
For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. . . .
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it. . . .
If we wish to be free—if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained—we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
Stop reading newspapers that ask dumb questions, such as “Is the presidential race too long?”
What if we asked, “Should political debates be actual debates?” Maybe that’s kids stuff to the campaign experts of the world.
January asks why book coverage decreases while book publishing increases. “Newspaper owners don’t see book reviews as revenue producers,” he writes, and then he complains about certain bloggers.
Did Lars review of The Last Detective leave you cold? Did you start questioning his loyalties? Could he have been paid off by Crais or Crais’ evil publisher (doesn’t matter who it is b/c all of them are e.v.i.l. money-grubbing capitalists)? If so, perhaps you agree with Lynne Scanlon, who says, The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Book Reviewers. She raises several good angst-ridden points, but I plan to continue taking my life in my hands by reviewing the books I read. I’m sure Lars will too. We’re building trust here at Brandywine Books–trust you can bank on.
Which leads me to wonder if we should set up one of those Amazon Associate accounts or a recommendations page. Tip jar, maybe. Advertising. Hmmm.
Last month, I almost wrote a post about a column on Barack Obama by David Ehrenstein, which I heard on Rush Limbaugh’s show. Ehrenstein called Obama a “magic negro,” meaning he is a nice black man who doesn’t have the harsh characteristics white people dislike so they, the racist whites, can accept him and assuage their guilt for disliking the undesirable black people they may or may not know. Limbaugh read through the column, arguing that it was evidence of a widespread liberal view that Obama was not black enough to be . . . I don’t know . . . real or acceptable, I guess. I had thought last month to say that “white negro” was worse than another term in the news at that time, tar baby. But today, I’ll put that aside and just report that Limbaugh says he is getting some flack this week (as he predicted) from people who have just heard the parody song on “Barack, the magic negro” and believe Limbaugh came up with the label himself.
Thank you for reading. I hope you feel edified.
Atlanta’s newspaper, the Journal Constitution, has released its book review editor. The paper plans to continue its books and arts coverage on Sundays with fewer staff (as far as it goes).
The lead story in James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” column is on a bit of fantasy report by Jay Forman a few years back, something about monkeyfishing. Is there a mindset in the press with a weakness for outrageous stories?
This one is for Michael, who raised a question about the need for definitions in our post on reading the classics. World reporter Timothy Lamer asks, “Is the newspaper industry about to die or experience a revival? The answer may depend on whom you ask and how you define the word newspaper.” Heh, heh.
The point of the article is to quote some folks about how newspapers will survive and can they make money online. I think a subscription for the Chattnaooga Times-Free Press (formerly two papers, one of which was the Chattanooga News-Free Press, a far superior name don’t you think?) for a year is $120. If the cost was $50/year and it was only online, would I subscribe for the sake of local news? I don’t know. Maybe I would. I think I’d have to see the offer when it comes, much like the 2008 presidential election questions being asked now. I don’t know if I would vote for Giuliani or McCain. I don’t want to vote for either of them. So, I’ll wait and see what the options are.
I just learned of this new ArtsJournal blog on books: BookDaddy. Jerome Weeks has been book columnist for The Dallas Morning News before starting this blog, and here he describes the state of book coverage at that paper, if not in newspapers generally. On increasing revenue for book coverage, he suggests:
If the [American Association of Publishers] wanted to do anything, it could try to convince advertisers that the readers of books pages may not be the young illiterates with poor impulse control that marketers currently want but neither are they the old and the dying, as conventional ad wisdom has it. They’re a well-off, often media-savvy and intellectually- and socially-involved audience. This is not some wildly unconventional, radical re-think: TV networks have come to respond to an older audience (the kids are all off in the clubs or on the computer) and has long positioned “geezer” ads for its news programming. Why not the arts pages?
Sounds good to me. I want to be concerned about newspaper coverage, but I don’t subscribe to any of them. I have picked up a few Friday Wall Street Journals because of Terry Teachout, and I look at the local Sunday paper at my parents house, but I don’t care to spend the money on a subscription I wouldn’t read. I do that with other things already. (Thanks to Books, Inc. for pointing out Mr. Weeks’ blog.)
An interesting language point from Opinion Journal:
[In a Reuters story]:
An Iranian woman now living in a homeless shelter in Manhattan, was once a leader in a terrorist group based in Iraq trying to overthrow the Tehran government, federal authorities said in court documents on Monday.
A what group? Isn’t one man’s terrorist another’s freedom fighter? Where are the scare quotes?
Oh wait, she was trying to overthrow the Iranian government, not just wantonly murdering civilians. That’s very different.
Bravo, Mr. Taranto.
A picture is worth a thousand words unless you don’t have the right words to match it. Take the photos coming out of Lebanon and Israel these days. What are the right words? As shown here, the words given them by some news editors are so wrong you have to wonder why that particular news was unfit to print. And here’s another example from the same site.
CNN’s man in Beirut, Nic Robertson, told CNN’s Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz that Hezbollah controlled his story entirely. Rich Noyes blogs on it:
Robertson suggested Hezbollah has “very, very sophisticated and slick media operations,” that the terrorist group “had control of the situation. They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn’t have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath,” and he even contradicted Hezbollah’s self-serving spin: “There’s no doubt that the [Israeli] bombs there are hitting Hezbollah facilities.”