Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ty on Filkins (The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review)

I've got swimmer's ear and went to the doctor at the end of the day. The draining continues. I'm not up for an entry so I'm running with Lloyd's request. He e-mailed to ask that we note Ty's commentary on Dexter Filkins as it's own entry.

From this week's news review by The Third Estate Sunday Review:

C.I.: Thank you, Ava. We now go to Ty, of The Third Estate Sunday Review, with a review of Falluja Rocks! Dexter Filkins's latest.

Ty: C.I., in The New York Times' Sunday Magazine, Filkins piece reads like you were told it would, as a self-justiciation by a war cheerleader. "Where is the line?" Filkins asks supposedly about the tossing of Iraqis into the Tigris river by US forces but it applies equally well to his own reporting, "award winning reporting," that downplayed a slaughter he was witness to. In the case of the Tigris river incident, a solider decides to be, putting it mildly, less than forthcoming about the incident because if the full truth was told, it might inflame public opinion. "Where is the line" between that and Filkins own less than forthcoming reporting on Falluja that took days to appear in print and has led to whispers that he first submitted it to military censors? Those interested in reading the overlong report/soul confession, it spans over eleven pages, would be wise to do so online or do as I did and tear out the countless pages of ads. When he finally gets to the conclusion, the soldier Filkins' is profiling is receiving a medal back home and is told, "More than anyone I know you deserve this." The line coming as it does at the conclusion of Filkins overly long musings on what should and should not be told can be read as Filkins giving himself a pat on the back and saying, "Yeah, bucko, chin up, you earned that award." That the paper ran this, apparently without editing, at a time when they're under fire for the lies of Judith Miller proves that the culture at the paper remains the same and that no lesson is ever learned by The New York Times.

C.I.: Ty, I was told that the burning of fields to punish farmers who allegedly assisted the resistance is treated in a "things happen" sort of way. Would you agree with that assessment?

Ty: Absolutely. Filkins continuously tosses out the phrase "non-lethal force" to describe those actions as well as kicking women out of one home, telling them to grab their belongings and immediately leave their own home, and then destroying the home with missiles. There's a story here but Filkins [is] filing his own subtext and shouldn't have been assigned it. This isn't a "neutral tone" -- which I'm not sure the outrages in this story call for anyway -- this is Filkins, the ultimate em-bed, yet again seeing himself in the military and now using them and their actions to justify his own. The piece is called "The Fall of the Warrior King" and read it at your own risk.

C.I.: Thank you, Ty. We'll also note, on the topic of the Sunday magazine, that there's a profile on Diane Keaton. We now go to Wally of The Daily Jot.

Lloyd wants it noted that Ty did "an outstanding job." I agree, Lloyd, he did a wonderful job.
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