Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shhhh. U.S. News Has Secrets

The new issue of U.S. News & World Report has the Civil War on its cover. That's the U.S. Civil War, not the Civil War in Iraq or any of the other civil or sectarian conflicts that affect millions of people around the globe as I write, many of which are so ill-covered that you could almost call them secrets.

The big headline reads SECRETS OF THE CIVIL WAR: Lincoln's Lost letter, Lee's dark side, the Confederate submarine ...

If I may, I do have a few notes for editor-in-chief Mortimer Zuckerman and all the historians over at U.S. News & World Report:

1. I had heard about the confederate submarine years ago. I'm not so sure it was a secret then, but I'm pretty sure it's not a secret now.

2. Does finding a lost Lincoln letter mean it's a secret? Doesn't it just make it merely newly discovered? And is this more newsworthy than what's (still) going on in Afghanistan or in New Orleans?

3. Gen. Robert Lee had a dark side? Wow -- it must prove he's a member of the human race.

I hope this issue sells well. I understand why people are more interested in reading about (and reporting on) the past rather than the present, given the dismal state of the world (and journalism) today.

I'm looking forward to their future cover stories on the Spanish-American War, the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the presidency of Franklin Pierce, as well as a feature on that new Lillian Gish summer blockbuster. I hear it's a talkie.

No comments: