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March 30, 2004

All the (Good) News That's Fit to Sweep

Patrick Sweeney notes a couple of articles, about thwarted terror attacks, that suggest two points. Patrick notes one:

The media wing of the Democratic party will bury these stories as it reminds people that the other side in the war on terror has not surrendered.

The terrorists will not always be caught before they launch an attack. We are still vulnerable.

Somewhat counterintuitively, the second point is that instances of prevention indicate success. There are more than enough examples of similar (relatively) small-scale victories for the press and opinion leaders to tell a wholly different story than the one with which they are bombarding the people of the West. (That story, by the way, is also known as "the truth.")

The joint realities suggested by the preempted attacks are not, actually, counterintuitive at all; the requirement to fight is inseparable from the ability to win. It ought to be universally troubling that so many among the cultural and informational elite are willing to diminish each of these so as to diminish the other. And of course, whispering about battles won while shouting about those lost is apt to color the public's overall impression.

Here's a prediction premised on a big, shudder-inspiring IF: If Kerry wins in November, look for Terrorists Thwarted stories — and even less significant successes — to climb toward and perhaps beyond their rightful place in the media kaleidoscope.

Posted by Justin Katz at March 30, 2004 7:11 PM
International Affairs