Everyone remembers Wag the Dog as being about the manufacture of a foreign crisis to deflect attention from a White House scandal. But it’s also about the collaboration between the government and the mass media in inventing heroes. The Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman stories are especially egregious examples.
Another test of wingnut message discipline: How many of the outlets that helped hype those stories will now acknowledge their bogosity?
Update This ESPN story just puts the icing on the cake. Though Tillman didn’t engage in any of the imaginary heroics embodied in his Silver Star citation, it appears that his death actually did result from a deliberately courageous action: coming out from behind cover to throw a smoke grenade to protect a comrade. Whether that sort of action warrants a Silver Star I can’t say, but I don’t doubt that whatever award for gallantry Tillman actually earned would be of more comfort to his family than a faked-up Silver Star.
Bonus disgusting element Various military folks speaking to ESPN dissed the Tillman family for their lack of religiosity.