More than murder, corruption, war, scandal, it's revolution that the media adores. Revolution"s the ultimate conflict and the ultimate upset. Even more, the media loves a revolution that produces media--that is, pictures. Even better when you don't have to send a camera crew, as with the YouTube video of the dying Iranian woman, Neda Agha-Soltan. Curiously, it may not matter whose side is revolting. The 1979 revolution in Iran, even with America cast as the enemy of the revolution, was covered with as much excitement by the US press as the current one.
This is surely one of the major dangers of revolution: the maximum number of cock-sure-sounding people with little idea of what they are talking about--the nature of revolution being, after all, maximum confusion--talking as much as possible about it.
The imperative, from the media point of view, is to reduce the narrative, no matter how complex, contradictory, and unknown, to a simple and compelling story line. The imperative is also to encourage the revolution. Failed revolutions are much less interesting.
Joe Klein, who covers American politics for Time, with a seen-it-all, know-it-all authority, is now using that same voice as Time's man in Tehran--a place, he says, he visited once before in 2001.
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