Go, tell Lord Beaverbrook, thou passer-by,This rather neat little parody of Simonides was the work of some grizzled old war correspondent back in the day: I can't remember the source. We might update it nowadays by rewriting the first line: "Go tell the Murdochs, thou who passest by."
That here, obedient to his law -- we lie.
De mortuis nil nisi bonum. Nobody that I ever heard of ever accused Marie Colvin of lying. She seems to have been a ballsy, sharp-elbowed, determined person, and all the people who have praised her courage are undoubtedly telling the truth too. She sounds like a person it would have been fun to know.
Still, as always, the torrent of mawkish self-adulation from her colleagues in the Propaganda Sector -- excuse me, the news media -- has been exceptionally nauseating in this case. The quest for justice! Truth at all costs! And this is not just from the right-wing yellow press; the liberal media are if possible even more over the top.
I seldom saw much of Colvin's work, since she worked for one of the premier Murdoch sewer-outlets, the (London) Sunday Times. Clearly however she was very parti-pris and a strong advocate of intervention. A laudatory piece about her, from colleague Christiane Amanpour (of the unspeakable CNN) makes it quite clear that both of them regarded persuasion -- not mere reportage -- to be part of their remit:
... we and the BBC's Jeremy Bowen got an exclusive interview with Moammar Gadhafi, which was the last interview he did. It set the tone for future international involvement....She goes on in this jingo vein at quite some length.
I believe the no-fly zone in Benghazi was put up because of the reporting there, and the urgent need to protect tens or hundreds of thousands of Libyan civilians.
And in Bosnia, it took a long time, but without the urgent reporting on the siege of towns and cities like Sarajevo and Srebrenica and Mostar, there would have been no intervention.
There is, it seems, a near-universal agreement to regard Colvin as a martyr, and use her memory to effect a sforzando in the baying of the war-hounds.
Perhaps it will seem cold-hearted of me to respond so unemotionally to a death -- any death. But long experience has taught me that orgies of public grief nearly always eventuate in some great crime.