Saturday, February 13, 2016
The Movie Truth
I just had a chance to watch this movie today. It's the big screen rendition of Mary Mape's book "The Press, The President, and the Privilege of Power."
It is an interesting contrast to watch this movie, and then read the various critical reactions to it. I personally found the movie to be quite entertaining, as well as a bit disheartening.
I get the point made by some of the critics of the movie that it tries to gloss over the essential point that the documents were subject to a good deal of doubt, and this was an error Mapes and Rather should have been more sensitive to. The corroborative evidence, however, surrounding the facts of Bush's supposed service in the Air National Guard were pretty solid; especially with the several officials who actually spoke on camera about it (other than Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett's testimony) .
These were seasoned reporters who had to have had a good grip on what made a story valid and truthful or they wouldn't have gotten to the position of respect that they had attained prior to this. And there was a lot that was valid, at least as far as the essential point of the shenanigans that took place to give Bush that cushy out from actually serving his country in Vietnam.
The disheartening part of this is how easy it can be to use one aspect of a body of truth to obfuscate the rest of it. Were the documents manufactured as bait precisely so as to make the reporters jump prematurely? Who knows. Maybe, maybe not. Don't forget that one of the officers involved who wouldn't appear on camera did validate the general thrust of what the disputed documents contained. From my perspective its just damned hard not see the air guard appointment as anything other than privilege at work. And let us also not forget that Bush would have been disgraced enough to lose the election for his second term if something hadn't come up to cast at least some doubt on the charges.
Even more disheartening still, however, is the basic fact of what has happened to information, and how it now is automatically held in suspicious contempt as far as any link it might have to "truth." This is so because in today's world everybody has an angle to work, or an ax to grind, in what they let go forth into the infosphere as information. Truth used to be the first casualty of every war but now we are in the business of permanent war. As such truth is just another theatre of operations to conduct that constant conflict in, and information the main weapon. How convenient for the powerful.