Thursday, January 26, 2006

I, Me, Mine and My Opinion--or the shifting standards of 'truthiness'

OK, so I finally have some thoughts about James Frey. Not that I've read his book or anything. But what I have to say doesn't depend upon reading his book.

I just watched Anderson Cooper beat up on the guy for an hour. And all I could really think was what a safe, helpless target Frey made. My take on this is that the media is channeling, psychologically displacing, really, its anxiety and guilt about not being able to go after the real liars in our society, namely the politicians--such as Tom DeLay, the various Abramoff party guys & gals, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, the President.

They know they should be calling the above on their exceptionally stinky piles of lies, but they can't and they won't. Why? They don't really dare. Going after Frey is easy. He has no power base, no power structure. Call him on his lies, shame him, destroy him. What can he do? Nothing.

Go after Tom DeLay. Go after the President or one of his many minions. What's going to happen? You're going to be personally destroyed. Your career is going to be ruined. Your producer will be blackmailed, one way or the other, into firing you. Your network will be damaged and lose all of its access to political newsmakers. You will be shut out from the discussions that run our government, just like the Democratic Party.

Is the media really a pack of cowards? Or are they just being necessarily pragmatic? In any case, it seems to me that a different standard of "truthiness" is being applied to Frey than is applied to any politician come under fire in recent months. Sure, Anderson Cooper seems to ask a lot of tough questions, seems to rough up a few politicians--but, really, he's just picking off the weaker ones. He won't call the President a liar. He won't sit down and list the lies and the evidence that proves they're lies. The Smoking Gun website is equally ridiculous in that regard--oh, it's easy to be the big, tough, self-righteous poseur when there's no risk involved for you.

In any case, the news media continues to have us believe that what any ordinary person would refer to as 'lies' are, really, when they emerge from the mouths of powerful politicians, just a matter of opinion. There are no lies anymore, there are just opinions. I have my opinion, you have yours.

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