Pressure to tell it like it isn’t. Robert Fisk writes the pressure exerted on journalists to change reality…Telling it like it isn’t
I FIRST REALIZED the enormous pressures on American journalists in the Middle East when I went some years ago to say goodbye to a colleague from the Boston Globe. I expressed my sorrow that he was leaving a region where he had obviously enjoyed reporting. I could save my sorrows for someone else, he said. One of the joys of leaving was that he would no longer have to alter the truth to suit his paper’s more vociferous readers. “I used to call the Israeli Likud Party ‘right wing,’ ” he said. “But recently, my editors have been telling me not to use the phrase. A lot of our readers objected.” And so now, I asked? “We just don’t call it ‘right wing’ anymore.” Ouch. I knew at once that these “readers” were viewed at his newspaper as Israel’s friends, but I also knew that the Likud under Benjamin Netanyahu was as right wing as it had ever been.
and he wraps up the view held by the hard headed realists,like me:
So let’s call a colony a colony, let’s call occupation what it is, let’s call a wall a wall. And maybe express the reality of war by showing that it represents not, primarily, victory or defeat, but the total failure of the human spirit.
For those that took some college science courses may remember ecountering the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, “The more precisely the POSITION is determined, the less precisely the MOMENTUM is known.” I, feet on desk, keyboard on lap, am not the first to notice that the attack from the far right zealots on the press is different from that of the Jeffersonians. The Faux Red State crowd is has two props on their crazy plane. One prop is the view that the media’s job is to reassure them, by telling them what they want to hear. Spinning simutaneously is the second prop which says that something like the Heisenberg Principle applys to all reportage, that the actual act of reporting something changes the event so much that it no longer resembles reality. As such we’re probably better off either not having professional journalists who are all changing reality, or we just have something like Fox, the 700 Club, the Washington Times, right-wing blogs, etc which for the most part just echo their world view. Any facts that manage to pass through to the public are simply uncertain sketchy glimpses of some reporters altered reality. Any attempts at objectivity are futile. Reality is relative. I readily acknowledge that total objectivity is impossible, the attempt is not. If facts about the war, the national debt, environmental degradation, or education standards are all relative, then morality is relative. I’m comfortable with a large amount of ambiguity regarding some issues and even life in general, but its a mistake to think that facts such as Fisk describes don’t exists. People do die in combat and crying against their names being broadcasts, or pictures of flag draped coffins being shown is simple ostrich behavior. Phoney outrage over exposing warrantless domestic spying, exposing torture, secret prisons/rendition, or even what consenting adults do in their homes isn’t just petty, its dangerous.
There were no WMD, an unsettling fact to many, so with tin foil firmly in place why not invent some for those that still dream of swiftboats…..Making Stuff Up
The dark man in the garb of a native smiled an oily, ingratiating smile and brushed away his captor’s words with a wave of his hand. “I ain’t offering you a dinky coupla thousand dollars; I’m offering you your pick out of one of the richest gem beds in Asia—a bed that was hidden by the Mran-ma when the British jumped the country. Come back up there with me and I’ll show you rubies and sapphires and topazes that’ll knock your eye out. All I’m asking you is to go back up there with me and take a look at ’em. If you don’t like ’em you’ll still have me to take back to New York.” Hagedorn shook his head slowly. “You’re going back to New York with me. Maybe man-hunting isn’t the nicest trade in the world but it’s all the trade I’ve got, and this jewel bed of yours sounds phoney to me. I can’t blame you for not wanting to go back—but just the same I’m taking you.” Barnes glared at the detective disgustedly. “You’re a fine chump! And it’s costing me and you thousands of dollars! Hell!”
from The Road Home by Peter Collinson