I’m looking at last week’s Time magazine cover, featuring a full-page, blazing red photo of the recent riots in London, with the headline, “The Decline and Fall of Europe (and maybe the West)”. After a moment of admiration for the great photojournalism, I found myself annoyed by the stupid sensationalism of using the violence in a few English cities – as tragic as they were (see entry below) – to symbolize the very different actual problems of the modern world. Which, to add insult, were actually quite well analyzed in the article inside.
(I think I’m nervous that Time is going to try to keep up with Tina Brown at Newsweek, though she’s more of a muck artist.)
This weekend I saw the practical consequences of journalism such as this. I was visiting an older, conservative friend and talking politics as usual. He is very concerned about the debt and the deficit, as are most conservatives. I asked if he would be willing to cut anything from the defense budget and he replied, “not one cent.” Discouraged, I asked him why and he said, “Because it invites trouble. Did you see? Europe is burning down with these riots.”