The "Good-bye Lenin" press

Some of you may be familiar with a recent German movie, Good Bye, Lenin, a hilarious comedy satirizing the former East German communism. In it, an idealistic East German socialist schoolteacher and mother has a stroke and goes into a coma just before the Berlin Wall falls and Germany is reunited.
 
As she wakes up in her hospital room, her son is told by the doctors that any psychological shock could kill her, so the son, a satellite television salesman and technician, devises a scheme to keep her totally in the dark about the political changes.
 
Central to this scheme are the home—made evening news reports he and a friend videotape and pipe into the mother's television. At first they are merely bland pronouncements about how the Communist government is going along as it normally did. But later, as the mother sees a huge Coca Cola banner outside her window and leaves her bed to see many Western luxury automobiles on the street, the son has to devise more elaborate fantasy newscasts.
 
His "newscast" now states that rampant unemployment in West Germany has resulted in workers fleeing and the East German government, in a humanitarian gesture, has allowed these workers (who have arrived with Mercedes, Opels, Audis, etc.) to now take "refuge in the Socialist Workers' Paradise" that supposedly existed in East Germany.
 
The Coca Cola banner explanation involves the over 100 year old American firm supposedly having stolen the formula for Coke from East Germany, a regime that started after World War II. Caught red—handed (as it were), it is forced into a cooperative marketing plan with the socialist "inventors."
 
While reading or hearing about the  press's attempts to deny the reality of threats from Iraq before the war, or deny current American prosperity and low unemployment, or pretending that the Cheney hunting accident is worse than Vince Foster's death or the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, I am drawn to one conclusion:
 
The mainstream media has become the American equivalent of the young man in "Goodbye, Lenin," going to extreme lengths to protect its viewers from any shocks to its wordview, twisting facts into constructs so out of touch with reality that it is as if they are afraid that facing the truth would cause their readers a fatal stroke.
 
So we have the spectacle of Newsweek running a cover story about the unfortunate hunting accident as if it were the most important issue in the world — literally.  And we have Dana Milbank showing up on cable tv wearing a hunter's vest. In fact, in the movie Good Bye, Lenin the adult children of the stroke victim wore old, drab East German clothes that they got from some charity donation box in the presence of their bedridden mother. We are seeing life follow art. And in this case, it is not good.
 
So I am adding a new name to the mainstream media today. They have been called the antique media here. I propose the name "The Goodbye, Lenin Media." It, sadly, fits them like an old workshirt.
 
Jack Kemp (not the politician)   2 21 06
Some of you may be familiar with a recent German movie, Good Bye, Lenin, a hilarious comedy satirizing the former East German communism. In it, an idealistic East German socialist schoolteacher and mother has a stroke and goes into a coma just before the Berlin Wall falls and Germany is reunited.
 
As she wakes up in her hospital room, her son is told by the doctors that any psychological shock could kill her, so the son, a satellite television salesman and technician, devises a scheme to keep her totally in the dark about the political changes.
 
Central to this scheme are the home—made evening news reports he and a friend videotape and pipe into the mother's television. At first they are merely bland pronouncements about how the Communist government is going along as it normally did. But later, as the mother sees a huge Coca Cola banner outside her window and leaves her bed to see many Western luxury automobiles on the street, the son has to devise more elaborate fantasy newscasts.
 
His "newscast" now states that rampant unemployment in West Germany has resulted in workers fleeing and the East German government, in a humanitarian gesture, has allowed these workers (who have arrived with Mercedes, Opels, Audis, etc.) to now take "refuge in the Socialist Workers' Paradise" that supposedly existed in East Germany.
 
The Coca Cola banner explanation involves the over 100 year old American firm supposedly having stolen the formula for Coke from East Germany, a regime that started after World War II. Caught red—handed (as it were), it is forced into a cooperative marketing plan with the socialist "inventors."
 
While reading or hearing about the  press's attempts to deny the reality of threats from Iraq before the war, or deny current American prosperity and low unemployment, or pretending that the Cheney hunting accident is worse than Vince Foster's death or the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, I am drawn to one conclusion:
 
The mainstream media has become the American equivalent of the young man in "Goodbye, Lenin," going to extreme lengths to protect its viewers from any shocks to its wordview, twisting facts into constructs so out of touch with reality that it is as if they are afraid that facing the truth would cause their readers a fatal stroke.
 
So we have the spectacle of Newsweek running a cover story about the unfortunate hunting accident as if it were the most important issue in the world — literally.  And we have Dana Milbank showing up on cable tv wearing a hunter's vest. In fact, in the movie Good Bye, Lenin the adult children of the stroke victim wore old, drab East German clothes that they got from some charity donation box in the presence of their bedridden mother. We are seeing life follow art. And in this case, it is not good.
 
So I am adding a new name to the mainstream media today. They have been called the antique media here. I propose the name "The Goodbye, Lenin Media." It, sadly, fits them like an old workshirt.
 
Jack Kemp (not the politician)   2 21 06