aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Bring on the Right-sizing!
It’s true for newspapers and goes double for the future of the movie, music and television industries:
Whatever you do, don’t mistake the decline of newspapers with the decline of journalism. Much of what we’re witnessing is the delayed right-sizing of newspapers and newspaper publisher and editor egos in the multimedia age.
The Dark Side
It’s a hair-raising tale of political infighting, but it has been told many times, particularly by “Frontline,” which has produced several similar documentaries about the ill-prepared rush to war.
Yes, thankfully somebody has, and I’ve viewed them all. The Times goes on to complain that Frontline allows the CIA to “whitewash” its own failings. I’m left wondering what the objective basis is for believing that the telling of the CIA side of the story is a whitewash when the telling of the administration’s side is not?
The administration’s story is told every day in the press. A brief sequence in the Frontline piece describes the administration’s artful leaking to the Times’ Judith Miller on a Saturday, then appearing on the Sunday chat circuit the next day pointing to Miller’s piece in the Times’ as objective evidence of the validity of their case.
It’s crucial that this other side of the story continue to be told. The two views are fairly clear at this point, and I doubt even history will convince one side or the other that theirs is the right one. But The Times’ reviewer, Alessandra Stanley, wants a different emphasis from the Frontline producers.
Stanley says that the documentary “barely acknowledged” the torture of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi in Egypt under CIA auspices. Barely? Maybe, but I got it. She says that it “glancingly suggests” the roots of animosity between Cheney and the CIA in the intelligence failings from the first time around in Iraq. Glancingly? I got that too.
It is also conceivable that the C.I.A. was haunted by its past failures and lacked the confidence to present its assessments without qualifiers or equivocations. That possibility is not raised by the documentary.
She’s right, it’s not.
It’s also conceivable that the Times’ own role in the run-up to the war - which would itself make an interesting Frontline documentary - colors this reviewer’s perspective. I bet she’d balk at that.
What I find conceivable is that the producers of this documentary read and researched and interviewed and concluded that the story they told is the story they believed to be true.
One thing I can say with certainty: it’s the story I believe. Watch it.