View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Sunday, March 30, 2003
One more WWII posting. Paul Fussell complains in Wartime about the softer, comforting tone of E.B. White as, if not dishonest, at least misleading. But here, in a Harper's article from February of 1942, Mr. White complains about press opacity:

But when, day after day, you are shaken by the detonations of American success and hear only small puffballs of the enemy's fire, a very definite feeling grows in you that Japan has really accomplished very little. The facts show that the Empire of the Rising Sun is doing very well indeed.


Quite apart from the emphasis, the newspaper reader finds it very difficult to get at the truth of any situation, through the great mass of conjecture and rumor and conflicting statements. Often he feels completely baffled and defeated. This is not the fault of the press - it is just that the war is too big and moves too fast and the facts are not always available. The news is the privilege which the customer enjoys, but it is also the crossword puzzle which he alone must solve. One moment he experiences the full flush of victory, the next moment the chil of defeat. From two stories on the same page, sometimes from two paragraphs in the same story, he runs the whole gamut.

Le plus ca change, er, the more things change...

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