Monday, November 29

The front page of the New York Times contains another would-be-highly-amusing-if-it-weren't-so-darned-serious opinion piece masquerading as journalism - and doing a bad job of it.

This time, John F. Burns doesn't even try to be subtle with the Vietnam comparisons, offering a tale replete with swift boats, marshes and paddies, and troops "who privately admit to fears that this war could be lost."

There's not too much this reveals about the Times that hasn't already been said, but the piece really is a howler. It plays as black comedy, a parody of real reporting.

Of course, as a CYA measure, Burns mentions in passing in the 21st paragraph of the story that "[r]ecent American sweeps in the area have uncovered some of the largest weapons caches found in post-Hussein Iraq." And in the final two paragraphs, Burns finally gets around to mentioning that the troops featured in his story survived a roadside bombing later that day and managed to capture two men responsible.

But that information might take away from the breathless comparisons to Vietnam, so let's bury it at the end of the story, shall we?

The LSU student government pays for hundreds of free copies of the Times and the Baton Rouge Advocate to be distributed at locations across campus each day. I normally pick up the Times just to do the crossword (seriously), but I can't help but glance at the front page each day (while wincing, of course).

Glad Burns had the journalistic courage to tell it like it is (cough, cough).


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