We the Sheeples has a splendid takedown of James Q. Wilson’s recent screed against the media. In a lecture reprinted by the Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal.com site, Wilson blamed all the bad news coming out of Iraq on an excess of negative media reports.
Wilson goes on to argue for the legality of the Bush administration’s no-warrant wiretapping program, on the grounds that — as best as I can figure out — Wilson believes martial law was declared shortly after 9/11; offers a fictional timeline showing how the media could have lost World War II if they were anything like the treasonous vermin who populate our newsrooms today; and beats “the media lost Vietnam” canard so hard and so repeatedly that it winds up broken into tiny toxic particles by the time he’s finished.
If you want to save yourself 15 minutes, you can just read the headline on Wilson’s piece, which succeeds at capturing both its essence and its lunacy: “The Press at War: What ever happened to patriotic reporters?”
And if you’d rather laugh than scream, read We the Sheeples. An excerpt:
You can’t look at how the media covers something without looking at the reality of the something. Wilson does not do that. He wants to say that the negative portrayal of the Iraq war means the media is negative. You can’t do that without looking at the reality, which is that dozens of bodies turn up mutilated — decapitation seems to be a favorite — every single day. Not, unfortunately, to Wilson …
You’d better believe if 30 headless corpses were found in Wilson’s hometown, he wouldn’t be complaining about adverse media coverage. Perhaps the media should write about all the people who weren’t decapitated yesterday?
Fortunately for Wilson, his head is still firmly attached to his shoulders. He ought to try using it.