Monday, October 22, 2007

When is a story not a story?

For those of you who don't know, the silos filled with Capra-corn, are just down the street from me in Middletown.

There in the Wesleyan film archives, you can find all of Frank Capra's papers and films, from a storied career. All thanks to Jeannine Basinger, head of the film archives, and who happens to have a brand new book on the shelves. It was Basinger who convinced Capra to donate is archives, to kick start the Wesleyan film archives. Of course, the film program which grew out of it, and created Hollywood's "Wesleyan mafia" is all due to Basinger's dogged persistence and love of film.

Why do I bring this up?

Well, Capra recognized a good story when he heard one (a man tries to commit suicide, then gets to see what the world would look like without him; an assertive female reporter convinces a down-and-outer to pretend he will commit suicide to protest social ills, creating a new political movement, and of course she falls in love with him; a boy scout leader is convinced to run for the Senate because the political bosses think they can control him, when in fact, they can't). He would have recognized the power in the Chris Dodd story ( a man making a quixotic run for president on principle, stands up to a corrupt President and an ineffectual Senate by putting his reputation on hold to block some horrifying legislation).

Dodd, a presidential candidate, is calling in his Senate chits by putting a hold on the FISA bill which he feels threatens the constitution and democratic liberties. What's at risk? His opponents will call him weak on terror. His allies won't have the courage to stand with him. The public might adore him.

Only problem - the press is ignoring the story.

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