Tuesday, October 25, 2005

He Said, She Said Criticism


Goodbye and good luck to all the rubbish that you've spoken
Goodbye and good luck to all the promises you've broken
Your life has lost its dignity, its beauty and its passion
You're an accident waiting to happen
Billy Bragg, Accident Waiting To Happen
On: Don't Try This At Home, 1991

All of which means a whole lot to middle-aged, former almost punks that want to hold onto the notion that a duality made up of the DIY ethic and standing up for what's right is what freedom is really all about.

And in a weirdly tangential way Bragg's anthem has something in common with George Clooney's new movie, Good Luck and Good Night.

And we're not talking just about the similarities of titles and lyrical taglines, but also about the similarities in theme, particularly the standing up for what's right bit, as newsman Edward R. Murrow did to Joseph McCarthy.

Which brings me to the title of the post.

Specifically, I like to think that Mr. Murrow would never have succumbed to the 'he said/she said' journalism that has become so fashionable in today's corporate dominated media.

And that, more than 10 billion Bill O'Reilly's and/or a planet Jupiter full of Rush Limbaugh's, is what is really destroying public discourse as we used to know it.


Because it leads to false equivalencies that have convinced significant swaths of the population that intelligent design is just as good as evolution in scientific terms or that global warming is actually a hoax that is being foisted on by The Laughing Man who has hijacked Theresa Heinz Kerry's overheated ketchup factories located along the border between China and Paris, France*

And all of this is happening because jounalists and their editors don't have the guts to dismiss, out of hand, proffered evidence that is demonstrably false.

Thus, a non-existent batch of yellowcake from Niger was successfully used to bamboozle a supplicant media, and an even more supplicant American congress and British parliament, into supporting an illegal and immoral war of naked aggression when it should, instead, have been smeared all over the faces of The Twig and Big Dick just prior to their infamous 'State of The Union' Minstrel Show in January of 2003.

But if all that is not bad enough, the 'he said/she said' thing appears to have now spread to film criticism, as illustrated by a recent review of Mr. Clooney's film by the Globe and (nolonger)Empire Mail's James Adams:

Some on the right say the movie has been "edited with the devilishly clever selectivity" that McCarthyites accused Murrow of practising 50 years ago.....

Others of more liberal cast say it's pervaded by the aroma of the Patriot Act, the incarcerations at Guantanamo Bay and the abuses of Abu Ghraib, not to mention the timidity and compliance of the U.S. media post-9/11.......

Others have argued that while the "advocacy journalism" and "enlightened citizenship" Good Night celebrates paved the way for TV newsman Walter Cronkite and Watergate's Woodward and Bernstein, Murrow's spawn also includes Bill O'Reilly, Matt Drudge and The Barbara Walters Specials....(dot's mine)

So, c'mon Mr. Adams, take a stand. Look at all the 'some says' and tell us - which is it?

And if you can't, well then perhaps you shouldn't bother at all.

*Either that or it is something that somebody made up while sitting, say, in the outgoing water of the bathtub.


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