Missing the review
: The NY Times’ Alessandra Stanley has been reviewing TV coverage of the war and, boy, did she miss the story yesterday.
Now I used to be a critic for a few publications and the angle yesterday could not have been more obvious; I wrote about it as we watched it — and as the world watched it: This was stirring television, captivating television, television that will change the world.
But Stanley didn’t notice that… or didn’t want to.
Instead, she concentrated on the image of an American soldier putting an American flag on the head of the doomed statue of Saddam Hussein “like a gallows hood.”
The sight also silenced news anchors and many viewers: the tableau of conquest was exactly the image most likely to offend the Muslim world. And it was exactly the image that the administration had most wanted to avoid in its campaign to portray the fall of Baghdad as a popular insurrection.
Whoa. I, too, wrote about the ticklish point of that flag, below.
But let’s put this in perspective: Here were soldiers who fought across the desert to liberate these people. At the moment of their freedom, the people asked for their help in dragging down the statue as celebration. The soldiers, too, had reason to celebrate and reason to be proud of their flag.
And we learn this morning that the flag was not put there by some tabaccy-chewing, Bible-thumping, cracker cliche of an American. Cpl. Edward Chin is the son of immigrants who made America — specifically blue-collar New York — their home and he was proud enough to go fight for it. He hoisted the flag there. At the least, this was a moment of pride and gratitude. At the most, it was a lapse.
But in any case, this was not the story!
History was made on television yesterday. Alessandra Stanley — and thus the Times — were not there to record it. They were blind.
: Donald Sensing has more to say on this.