Reviewing “Reality”: New York Times columnist Frank Rich views political life through a theatrical lens

From Harvard Magazine:

Rich President George W. Bush emerged from a navy jet that had just landed on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. Swathed in flight gear, he cradled a helmet under his arm and told the press that he had flown the plane, and “I miss flying, I can tell you that.” Hours later, he reappeared on deck wearing a business suit and spoke beneath a huge banner reading Mission Accomplished.

Image wins out over reality more and more in the battle for attention and belief. Virtually every public event now arrives filtered through a lens, laptop computer, or recording device, and hence nearly all our daily news has been “produced” and woven into some kind of narrative. Old-fashioned, relatively unmediated reality at times appears obsolete. In this environment, Rich’s New York Times columns attempt to redress the balance as he rips holes in the scenery of the image manipulators to reveal stagehands frantically hauling on ropes, and drags unwelcome truths onstage.

More here.