Forced Exposure

Here’s a link to an opinion article written by David Brooks called “the Culture of Exposure.”

In the piece, Brooks briefly outlines the shift in American journalism over the past 50 years from “a culture of reticence” to “an ethos of exposure” and then he has this to say:

Then came cable, the Internet, and the profusion of media sources. Now you have outlets, shows and Web sites whose only real interest is the kvetching and inside baseball.

In other words, over the course of 50 years, what had once been considered the least important part of government became the most important. These days, the inner soap opera is the most discussed and the most fraught arena of political life.

It’s true. This story on the McChrystal Rolling Stone article is getting more attention than the War in Afghanistan has had in ages. Michael Hastings, the author of the article, framed his piece around the offhand remarks and gossip of McCrystal and his staff. If somebody wants to get the public’s attention affixed upon a war – then you’d better highlight a drunken night in Paris, but don’t go into any significant analytical depth of the military’s strategy for winning the war.

Brooks is right in pointing out that:

By putting the kvetching in the magazine, the reporter essentially took run-of-the-mill complaining and turned it into a direct challenge to presidential authority. He took a successful general and made it impossible for President Obama to retain him.

Rolling Stone has been culturally obsolete as an innovative musical institution for some time now. In other words, it’s the man, and it isn’t fighting itself, it’s only looking for food. And with articles like the Runaway General, it has the political capital of TMZ.  It’s just a shame that in today’s world, that’s the kind of capital that you need.

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