A Rare Example of Reason
They call it “burying the lede.” In the news biz it means hiding the most vital or revealing information deep inside a story so as not to upset the powerful or challenge conventional wisdom. That’s why the great investigative reporter Izzie Stone urged inquiring minds to read the papers from the bottom up
Blessed are we then when we can read an important news story from the top down. The NY Times gave us one today, September 11, the 13th anniversary of our wars on assorted confessions and clans from the Mahgreb to the Hindu Kush. Right there at the top of a story headlined “Struggling to Gauge ISIS Threat,” it read:
“American intelligence agencies have concluded that it [ISIS] poses no immediate threat to the United States. Some officials and terrorism experts believe that the actual danger posed by ISIS has been distorted in hours of television punditry and alarmist statements by politicians, and that there has been little substantive public debate about the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East.
“'It’s hard to imagine a better indication of the ability of elected officials and TV talking heads to spin the public into a panic, with claims that the nation is honeycombed with sleeper cells, that operatives are streaming across the border into Texas, or that the group will soon be spraying Ebola virus on mass transit systems — all on the basis of no corroborated information,” said [Daniel] Benjamin, who is now a scholar at Dartmouth College.’
Let’s hope there will be more such sensible reporting in the war-spectered days to come. Otherwise, we will yet again be living out the familiar scenario described below:
"Naturally the common people don't want war. It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy...or a dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."--Herman Goering at the Nuremberg Trials