Deconstructing the Jessica Lynch story
Daniel Schorr's Nov. 14 column "The military-media complex" suggests the two entities are working together to spin the war effort. The media rarely cover our armed forces in a positive light. The Jessica Lynch story is driven by ratings and revenue, nothing more.
To suggest that our military is walking hand-in-hand with an out-of-touch mainstream media is not fair to our armed forces. What you see is a rabid embellishment of a story driven by the media alone.
The story on Jessica Lynch showed that the young woman did indeed meet the situation of her capture and injuries very bravely.
That the Bush administration distorted the facts concerns me. I hope the damage done will be repaired.
H. Rosalind Brown
I agree with the thrust of Daniel Schorr's column on Jessica Lynch, but he lets Pfc. Lynch off far too easily. No one forced her to sign a book deal, and from the reports of very slow sales, the world was hardly waiting for her story.
Also, if she is so offended at being "exploited" by the military, why does she extend that exploitation through seemingly endless TV appearances?
Regarding your Nov. 12 article "Is a museum obligated to tell the whole truth?": Museums cannot be free from political issues, and their decisionmaking can function to create, or fabricate, history - because museums such as the Smithsonian are powerful educational institutions.
The Smithsonian is ready to display the airplane Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, at the National Air and Space Museum in December. The problem here is that the Smithsonian focuses only on the technological "achievement," though the bombing also killed 100,000 people, mostly civilians. Critics are not demanding the Enola Gay display be withdrawn, but are asking the Smithsonian to deal with both faces of technology, bright and dark.
I also wonder why most media are not covering the Enola Gay display. I would like to see the Monitor pay a little attention to the Smithsonian issue sometime soon, because the media also have been deeply involved in the process of making history.
Regarding your Nov. 13 article "Dipping into books online: Is it stealing?": As a writer, I think what Amazon.com is doing is a great idea. As happens with any innovation, those in love with the old ways will initially oppose it.
Locking up books and making them inaccessible or inconvenient to read will not promote literacy, book buying, or authors' incomes. It will only tip the balance further in favor of other diversions, like TV and video games. Students are already hard-pressed to afford textbooks and tuition, and in any case never have and never will buy every book they consult for school projects. Good reference books will still end up on bookshelves, because it is more convenient.
Newspapers like the Monitor make their content freely available on the Internet as a way to increase circulation.
Books can do the same. Writers would do well to stop their whining and embrace and utilize this new resource. Amazon should be celebrated for furthering the public good and enriching society.
Santa Monica, Calif.
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