Monday, March 21, 2005


A few words from Joan Didion

The following is a passage from Joan Didion's book Political Fictions, specifically from the chapter entitled "Political Pornography," which was originally published in the New York Review of Books on 19 September 1996 under the title "The Deferential Spirit":
The genuflection toward "fairness" is a familiar newsroom piety, in practice the excuse for a good deal of autopilot reporting and lazy thinking but in theory a benign ideal. In Washington, however, a community in which the management of news has become the single overriding preoccupation of the core industry, what "fairness" has often come to mean is a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured. Such institutionalized events as a congressional hearing or a presidential trip will be covered with due diligence, but the story will vanish the moment the gavel falls, the hour Air Force One returns to Andrews. "Iran-contra" referred exclusively, for many Washington reporters, to the hearings.

Wonderful coincidence that you should post this bit from Didion on the day that Laura Rozen and her partner correspondent publish their piece on Ghorbanifur, Michael Ledeen, and the new-old Iran overthrow scheme.

Aunt Deb
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