Lessig unsure on symmetry

Lessig says that you can bend the truth, but “only in one way”. The two ways implied: Republican/Democrat or conservative/liberal and that the “one way” is pro-Republican/conservative. He’s implying that these issues are examples of Republican/conservatives bending the truth and that that is luxury the Democrat/liberals are not afforded. It’s assumed that to air the “loose with the facts” Lynch movie is a pro-Republican/conservative and therefore anti-Democrat/liberal. Similarly, to not air the “loose with the facts” Reagan movie is anti-Democrat/liberal and therefore pro-Republican/conservative.

Unfortunately, there is no such symmetry in the issues of Lynch and Reagan. In fact, neither should be described as a Republican versus Democrat issue. To run the Lynch movie, NBC is taking a pro-government position (against the will of Lynch herself). This is an interesting case in the power dynamic between the public and private sectors. To not run the Reagan movie, CBS is kowtowing to Republican pressures. This issue exemplifies special interest politics. The issues are, mostly, orthogonal and neither has much to do with partisanship (the Lynch movie much less so than the Reagan movie).

It’s important to make this distinction because you would have seen the same outcome who ever was leading the government and whoever the movies were made about. Imagine Gore in office, just having prosecuted a war in Iraq in which a hapless Private Lynch is rescued. His government would be just as inclined to ‘talk up’ that story as a Bush government. Certainly, if the Republicans would have been just as likely to protest the Reagan movie no matter which party is in office. Furthermore, you can imagine similar protests from Democrats if an unfavorable movie regarding FDR or Carter were to be made.

I’d say that the only coincidence between these two stories is that fact that they happened at about the same time and they don’t suggest some greater conspiracy or social/political imbalance.

Lessig’s simplistic, and false, dichotomy is useful only for spreading a sort of cancerous cynicism. Namely, Democrat/liberals are victims of a vast right wing conspiracy to silence their opinions. That cynicism should remain in the hands of defiant first-ladies, California governors with their backs against the wall and paranoid presidential hopefuls (longshots?). I would think Lessig and his ilk would be above such things.

Lessig, I ask you please to agree or disagree with the actions of the networks and add substance to the debate. You’re intellect and wisdom are wasted on empty rhetorical attacks.


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