Louder Than Bombs

Shane alludes to what has become a well-worn practice in the American media: the reduction of all issues and politics to an abysmally farcical battle of quotes, to one side and “the other side” — as if the American state were simply the bureaucratic equivalent of a teen amputee living in a war zone. And it gets even more convoluted. Because the state is also ostensibly a democratic and accountable one, it becomes even more necessary, as Shane says, for “citizens to know what the government says.

But with the state representing both the position of one voice among many and also the American expression of democracy writ large, the government’s view is presented two ways: On the one hand, it’s an essential view — citizens have a right to know. On the other hand, this view often goes to print unverified, since it is one voice among competing others in a point-counterpoint model of journalism wherein differing parties offer their versions of the truth for the reader to decide. In other words, it is the government’s talk or lack thereof that constitutes all the news that’s fit to print.

Taken from Madiha Tahir’s excellent essay for The New Inquiry. Her piece explores the ethics and practicalities surrounding mainstream media responses to America’s drone strike programme.



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