September 15, 2004

Reading Between the Lines: Soviet Union, CBS, conventions

A little while ago John O'Sullivan wrote this about reading between the lines in the Soviet Union and CBS. It applies to political conventions too....

Vladimir Bukovsky, the great anti-Soviet dissident, once reproved me for quoting the old joke about the two main official Soviet newspapers: "There's no truth in Pravda [Truth] and no news in Izvestia [News.]" He pointed out that you could learn a great deal of truthful news from both papers if you read them with proper care.

In particular, they often denounced "anti-Soviet lies." These lies had never previously been reported by them. Nor were they lies. And their exposure as such was the first that readers had been told of them. By reading the denunciation carefully, however, intelligent readers could decipher what the original story must have been. It was a roundabout way of getting information --but it worked.

That is exactly how intelligent readers now have to read the New York Times and most of the establishment media --at least when they are reporting on the "anti- Kerry lies" of the Swift-boat veterans.

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