I see, from a brief news release, and the subsequent minor bloggerly hyperventilating about it, that the story of the 60 Minutes-Dan Rather-faked TANG memo is going to be made into a movie, starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchette as Mary Mapes, his producer. If it were a cautionary tale about what happens when those who report our news content so desperately desire items of dubious provenance to be the genuine article and so skip merrily past every warning signal in their hurry to broadcast a nakedly partisan political hit piece on the eve of an election … well, I might be tempted to watch it. No, not in a theater – are you insane? I might opt to pay a couple of bucks to stream it through Amazon and watch it at home … but alas, likely I will give it a miss, altogether. It’s going to be based on Ms Mapes’ own account and defense of the indefensible, and frankly I am not all that interested in someone engaged in a lengthy justification of their own gullibility and/or willingness to wink at obvious forgery in service to a partisan political cause.
I have noted recent news reports decrying incidents of Sandy Hook trutherism with a certain degree of cynical un-surprise. This then, is the fruit of modern journalism; now we have news consumers who are absolutely convinced that the mass murders either didn’t happen, didn’t happen as most reports have it, or believe that it was a put-up job entirely. Of course there have been conspiracy buffs since human history began; wherever there was a tragic or shocking event there have always been unexplained details, dangling loose ends and things which just seemed to convenient, too coincidental for some observers. Supposing the existence of a conspiracy explains shattering and usually random events all very neatly, which is why people are attracted to conspiracy theories in the first place. Since I was in grade school, I’ve been hearing about the plot, or plots which supposedly took down JFK. It’s to the point where I can paint myself as a radical just by insisting that Oswald was a lone radical nut-case and no, it wasn’t that hard a shot. And sometimes suspicion of a conspiracy has been very well based; look at the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
So, I’ve watched the media-puffed Trayvon Martin meme go sailing by – and crash upon the iceberg of reality. Now it’s holed below the waterline, sinking fast, and a fair number of people who bought into it for one reason or another have quietly ducked into the nearest lifeboat and paddled away. They’re the most sensible element, of course: the rest are lined up on the boat deck, singing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’. Like a number of particularly deluded specimens at Open Salon, whose theme seems to be ‘Now we see the violence inherent in the system!’ alternating with choruses of ‘It’s all white people’s fault’. And for the record, no I haven’t gone around the OS threads arguing with any of these nimrods, or attempting to put them straight. Life is too short, and I have too much on my plate at this time to try and apply logic and good sense talking them out of a position that logic and good sense never had a hand in putting them into. As an old Air Force mentor of mine was wont to observe, ‘Sometimes ya just gotta stan’ back an’ let them fall on their sword. If ya wanna, afterwards ya can pull out the sword, wipe off the blood an’ ‘splain to them where where they went wrong…”