November 25, 2006

POSTSCRIPT: Oriana Fallaci

That great silence you hear is Oriana Fallaci not asking questions. Revered and reviled, the hard-edged journalist recently left New York City to die in her beloved Florence. Her book, Interview with History, single-handedly changed what I thought journalism was – and could be. Here was a journalist who not only acknowledged subjectivity, she demanded it. Here was a journalist who often knew as much (if not more) about the issues she discussed as did the people she interviewed. Of course, “discussed” is not the right word. Fallaci railed. She prosecuted. She hunted. Not only in her final years, when she condemned Islam, but throughout her career when she interviewed everyone from Henry Kissinger to the Ayatollah Khomeini to Sammy Davis Jr. How much better off would our republic be if our fourth estate was not bound by the restraints of objectivity, which are often false restraints too easily manipulated? The question is worth pondering. But now that Fallaci is dead, who will ask it?


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