Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sinclair, part II

There's an article on CNN that details the Democrats' probe into the Sinclair fiasco. It's a very interesting situation, all told, because of all the implicit issues and emotions that it taps into. There's the Vietnam memories, along with everyone who's still resentful of the anti-Vietnam movement. As I understand it, that indignation is justified, as many protestors did not bother to distinguish between the war and the troops fighting it. But that does not mean that now, since we've been blessed with hindsight, we can exonerate all of the troops who may or may not have committed acts which deserve to be condemned. Just because we know now that protestors were wrong to spit on veterans and call them baby-killers does not mean that those who actually did kill children should get off the hook. The thing that I don't get is that it seemed to have been commonly accepted knowledge before this year that these things happened in Vietnam. It was an ugly chapter of our past, one that we'd rather not look at too deeply, but one that had been talked about in books and movies for the last 30 years. It seems to me that this latest diatribe about the atrocities in Vietnam is entirely politically motivated. These men, brave and heroic though they may have been in Vietnam, would not be telling their stories today if John Kerry were not running for President.

Another issue which is tapped by this controversy is that of the ever-present cries of liberal media bias. I recently read two books on the subject. Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News by Bernie Goldberg was a poorly written vendetta against Dan Rather. It really failed to convincingly make the case that there was a liberal bias in the media, and sometimes Goldberg didn't seem to remember what argument he was trying to make. In contrast, What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News by Eric Alterman advances a cogent and well-researched argument for there having been at times no liberal bias in the media, and at other times (the 2000 election, for example) an anti-liberal bias in the media. Treatment of Al Gore ring any bells? This is not to say that there's not an argument to be made on both sides; I just mean to say that if the conservatives are going to get someone to cry about a liberal media bias, they should get someone to do a better job than Goldberg did. Anyway, the point is that the conservatives are trying to justify the showing of this Sinclair movie by saying that they have been treated unfairly in the media and haven't complained about it. Ken Mehlman, manager of Bush's re-election campaign, was quoted on CNN saying, "We had ("Fahrenheit 9/11" documentary creator) Michael Moore, we had CBS, which they had false documents. Having experienced over the course of a number of years what I consider to be a media bias in some cases I'm not in the business of dealing with filing complaints against media organizations." There you have it, folks. Their best argument is that there has been an anti-Bush documentary that people had to pay money to see, and that there was a big high-profile scandal in which CBSNews carelessly didn't check its sources. Priceless.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. I'll be back later.