Sowell states the obvious because it obviously needs stating. When respected ninnies like Sy Hersh and Paul Krugman are working full time to fill the world of polite discourse with utter bullshit, people like Thomas Sowell are stuck with the maddening task of shepherding us back toward reality. It must be heartbreaking for people like Sowell, who can see the potential inherent in this country and the world, to watch dilettantes and idiots take over the discussion of the important issues of our time. Here's some of Tuesday's column:
One of the biggest American victories during the Second World War was called "the great Marianas turkey shoot" because American fighter pilots shot down more than 340 Japanese planes over the Marianas islands while losing just 30 American planes. But what if our current reporting practices had been used back then?
The story, as printed and broadcast, could have been: "Today eighteen American pilots were killed and five more severely wounded, as the Japanese blasted more than two dozen American planes out of the sky." A steady diet of that kind of one-sided reporting and our whole war effort against Japan might have collapsed.
Whether the one-sided reporting of the war in Vietnam was a factor in the American defeat there used to be a matter of controversy. But, in recent years, high officials of the Communist government of Vietnam have themselves admitted that they lost the war on the battlefields but won it in the U.S. media and on the streets of America, where political pressures from the anti-war movement threw away the victory for which thousands of American lives had been sacrificed.
Too many in the media today regard the reporting of the Vietnam war as one of their greatest triumphs. It certainly showed the power of the media -- but also its irresponsibility. Some in the media today seem determined to recapture those glory days by the way they report on events in the Iraq war.
That is indeed the American media, a big powerful child who bases his reactions on vague impressions and deeply held biases instead of what is actually happening. The Viet Nam War may forever be misunderstood by the majority of Americans, and the real lessons will go unlearned. Let's not let that happen this time.