Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Fools' Crusade" Chapter Two [6]

"BELIEVING THE WORST"

The final section of part 2 ("Creating Public Opinion") kicks off with this smug bit of implied self-congratuation:

"It is sometimes assumed that particular courage is required to tell a terrible story and expose a frightful crime. The opposite assumption would be just as well founded: it may take particular courage to deny a terrible story."

While the cliche of the "Freudian slip" gets overused, I can't help but wonder if either Johnstone or her (clearly overpaid) editor noted that she uses the word "deny" instead of, say, "disprove" or at least "discredit." As frustrated as I get with the woman, I'll give her her due--sometimes, she makes it easy.

Considering that she is implying that she and her fellow genocide deniers are the heroic ones, what does she have to say about the Western reporters who actually went to Bosnia and filed reports on the atrocities she claims never happened? She does, indeed, call out Roy Gutman and David Rohde by name, and her dismissal of their work is beneath contempt. She actually accuses Gutman of merely regurgitating "war propaganda," and flatly declares that Rohde found nothing of substance at Srebrenica. In her universe, being moved by the atrocities they discover somehow turns reporters into liars; her idea of proper journalist is one so "skeptical" that he or she is willing to disbelieve what he or she knows to be true.

That both Gutman and Rohde have been proven by time and further investigation to have been correct means nothing. Throughout Chapter One, I was amazed at how differently Johnstone looked at reality. In Chapter Two, she barely seems acquainted with reality at all.

2 comments:

Owen said...

The whole point about Rohde and Srebrenica is that he did find something of substance which I'm sure he'd much rather not have. She's a shocker.

Kirk Johnson said...

Yeah, I meant to make that point more forcefully--she has the nerve to speak of the 'courage' it takes to deny a crime like Srebrenica. I'm sure she's very aware that Rohde risked his life out in the field, and got himself arrested by Bosnian Serb personnel, while researching the story. It's a tired cliche, but the woman truly has no shame.