Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The tyranny of the personal story

Democracy Now has been doing some great coverage of the US-backed coup that ousted Salvador Allende as the president of Chile 40 years ago, ushering in the notorious Pinochet dictatorship, but I will admit that I was a bit mystified when yesterday they were relying on a Hollywood film (“Missing”) to bolster their arguments. And then today’s guest, Juan Garces, who was personal advisor to Allende, started off the interview by saying that the methods of torture and rendition backed by the Nixon-Kissinger administration 40 years ago are now being backed by the US around the world, but instead of focusing the interview on this important point, Amy Goodman shifted to a Hollywoodized account of Garces’ last moments with Allende. The tyranny of the “personal story” in journalism so often masks a larger structural analysis, even in programs that are dedicated to that analysis.

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