The Echo Chamber
Saturday, December 20, 2003
  4:06 PM

[Joseph Horan]
The Fading of An Empire:
Glenn Reynolds writes on the failure of Big Media to cover the large Iraqi Anti-Terror March in Baghdad on Dec. 10th. Money Quote below.

But the story got out. Just a few years ago, this would have been a non-story in the United States. Now, it's a huge embarrassment for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the other Big Media operations that were scooped by an Iraqi dentist with a $200 digital camera. And not just scooped -- shown up for having what are, at best, rather skewed priorities in their reportage.

They'd better get used to it.

Add to this a BBC email instructing its journalists(if we can even call them that anymore) to not refer to Saddam as a "dictator" but rather as the "former leader of Iraq"! The picture that then takes shape is one of a skewed and confused audience, who is learning with each passing day that it can no longer trust the media coverage it is receiving. A lot of attention lately has been turned on those who watch FoxNews and listen to talk radio and I suppose also read blogs. That attention has been quite negative including this report from The American Public on International Issues. The report which has been out since October is a blatant attempt to disqualify a more conservative leaning constituency from having any semblance of intellectual credit in public debate. The gameplan I would guess is that the more liberal leaning Big Media is REALLY getting uneasy about the growing popularity and audience numbers for these more conservative news outlets and therefore wishes to ebb the flow by positioning those outlets as being for "idiots" in the minds of any future potential audience members. Will this play work? I don't' think so. The momentum has already been started and gathered much steam, especially with the help of the the "Blogosphere" and other internet channels. In the end, I predict that the Internet will become the de facto source for news for the next generation of voters and consumers.

Thursday, December 18, 2003
  10:42 AM

Success breeds success

[Stephen Gordon]

I'm not hearing enough of this story in the mainstream news:
Members of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson conducted a successful raid on what the U.S. calls a "high-value" target in Iraq...

"They discovered that there was actually the target individual at home, and he was also having a meeting with numerous military-aged males," said Major Josslyn Aberle, 4th Infantry Division spokeswoman. "There were no women, no children in the area, which leads us to believe we captured more than just a leader of a potential terrorist cell."

The military describes the man as a financier of attacks on coalition troops in the area. He and 73 other Iraqis were taken into U.S. custody.

The 4th Infantry Division also found more than a dozen assault rifles and 135 pounds of explosives during the raid.
This happened two days ago and I've heard nothing about it until now.

This is a very big deal. The number of insurgents in Iraq is limited. This may be as important in breaking the back of the resistance as the capture of Saddam.

That's not to say that these two victories are unrelated.
New details emerged about the impact of documents found in a briefcase at the scene of Saddam's capture in Adwar on Saturday.

"What the capture of Saddam Hussein revealed is the structure that existed above the local cellular structure - call it a network," said Brig. Gen. Martin Dempsey, as quoted by the American Forces Press Service, a Defense Department news service. "We now know how the cells are financed and how they are given broad general guidance."

[emphasis added]

UPDATE: The U.S. Army is calling this "Operation Santa Claws." Heh. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
  4:39 PM


[Stephen Gordon]

Some people just don't "get" fantasy movies or the related genre, sci-fi. For them, these stories are too far-out and unbelievable to be appreciated. They've decided that its a genre for 30+ year-old male virgins and have dismissed completely, and they are poorer for it.

The problem is that some of these people have power in the entertainment industry. If an anti-fantasy bias keeps The Return of the King from winning the best picture Oscar for 2003, then the AMPAS will be diminished, not this incredible film.

The story and the craftsmanship are key, not the genre. I like fantasy and sci-fi, but when it's bad I'd rather watch the news. Remember "Rollerball"? O.K., now go back to forgetting "Rollerball."

There's plenty of dreck and mountains of serviceable but uninspiring pulp, but this doesn't keep me from enjoying a true gem when one comes along. Peter Jackson's film adaptation of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is the pinnacle. It is everything that fantasy can aspire to be. Its what any epic film, fantasy or otherwise, should aspire to be.

For me The Lord of the Rings is now one film. One huge 12+ hour masterpiece that I took in yesterday on "Trilogy Tuesday." I may never have the stamina to watch all the films back-to-back like that again (at least this decade), but I'm glad I did it yesterday.

To a greater extent than any other trilogy I can think of, this is one story: one journey, one war. There are dramatic set-ups in the first two films that don't see pay-off until "The Return of the King." It would be hard to appreciate this if your last viewing of "Fellowship" was two years ago.

Compare this to the Godfather trilogy. The conflicts of the second and third films are informed by what went on before, but they are distinct problems.

If you are planning to see "The Return of the King" this weekend, watch the extended versions of "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers" this week. You'll be up to speed and ready to appreciate the trilogy as one masterwork.

I'll write more tomorrow after I've fully recovered.

UPDATE: Rich Lowry writes more.

Two neocons solving the world's problems

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