The Boss and I go way back. Way, way back. But now we have ended up in the same place -- on Iraq and on the page.
Bruce wrote the brief preface for my new book on Iraq and the media. He writes of living "in a time when it's never been more difficult to tell the truth from lies and lies from the truth" and denounces "the obstructions that have kept the media from fully doing their job." So all of us must "be more questioning, skeptical, and savvy than ever in assessing information that's presented to us," he writes. "And we need to teach our children to do the same."
More than 35 years ago (ouch), in January 1973, Peter Knobler and I wrote the first magazine article about Springsteen, even before his first record came out.
It was a 10,000 word opus for the legendary Crawdaddy (we were the top editors there) titled "Who is Bruce Springsteen and Why Are We Saying These Wonderful Things About Him?" He has never forgotten that, or the other cheerleading we did for him before he finally broke through. Maybe I'll go into that another time.
Bruce turns up in my book, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq a couple of times. Here is an excerpt from one chapter, from June 2006:
Appearing on CNN today to promote his current tour and album of Pete Seeger songs, Springsteen -- who was about as apolitical as they come when I knew him back in the 1970s -- took note of the new Ann Coulter controversy in responding to a question about whether musicians should speak out on politics.
Springsteen was asked by Soledad O'Brien if getting flak about his political views, such as backing John Kerry in 2004, made him wonder if musicians should try so hard to be taken seriously on topical issues.
"They should let Ann Coulter do it instead?" he mused, with a chuckle. Then he said, "You can turn on the idiots rambling on, on cable television, every night of the week -- and they say musicians shouldn't speak up? It's insane, it's funny," he said, with that inimitable booming laugh. He called politics "an organic part of what I'm doing. . . . It's called common sense. I don't even see it as politics at this point."
As for the Iraq war, he commented, "You don't take your country into a major war on circumstantial evidence -- you lose your job for that. That's my opinion, and I don't have a problem voicing that. Some people have a problem with that, others don't."
He revealed that some former fans have even mailed records back to him. Records? What are they?
Greg Mitchell is editor of Editor & Publisher. His new book, So Wrong for So Long, is his ninth on media, history and politics.
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