Monday, March 03, 2008

The Prince Harry revealers: Tools in every sense of the word

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Yes, I am paying attention, but I still can't help it. No matter how I try, I fail to be outraged. I know that's a totally inappropriate response when confronted with any news story the media instructs us to be outraged about, but that's where I am.

I refer to the events of recent weeks, when it was revealed in the media that the UK's Prince Harry was secretly in military service in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban. This was a secret that had been kept by the UK's media for several weeks. However, once Prince Harry's location was publicized, it was deemed best that he be removed from the deadly front since he would be a primary target. The details of Harry's presence in a war-zone were first revealed by the Australian tabloid New Idea and picked up by other news outlets, including the boring-for-all-but-most-vapid-political-junkies website, the Drudge Report.(1)

Let's recap the official story: The British media agreed to keep Harry's location secret. Non-UK media acquired knowledge of Prince Harry's location and publicized it. Since Harry was undercover, this publicity was dangerous to him. Harry was therefore removed from the front line.

Here is a scenario I find much more plausible: Once the British media bought into keeping Harry's location secret, someone from the British secret service, assigned to protect the royals at all costs, purposely revealed Harry's location to select non-UK media, knowing they would publicize it. Harry was therefore removed from the front line.

I believe my scenario is much more likely. It's a win-win situation for all the parties involved: the British royal family has a way to extract Harry without raising questions of favoritism, the entire British populace gets to rage at the world rather than be furious at each other, and attention-whore tabloids like The Drudge Report and New Idea get more attention.

The only non-cynical part of this tale might be Harry himself. He could be causing trouble for those who prefer to think of him as a symbol and not a human being. His mother, the late Princess Diana, suffered a similar fate, and even so, she publicized the tragedy of unexploded landmines when she could have been buying expensive shoes. I'm not trying to insult Harry with my guessing at how the machine works. I'm trying to insult the people who ruin a young man's life by making him a "royal." If Harry really wanted to, he likely could have got out of going at all, so give him that. Keep in mind, my view on the events allows that the information may have been leaked without Harry's knowledge, without his consent, possibly even against his consent.

Now let's talk about tools.

To call someone a "tool" is an insult. Used in a general sense, it means the same as "asshole." Taken to be a synonym with asshole, then obviously Drudge and his tabloid kin can be referred to as tools.

However, Drudge, New Idea and company are also tools with the more common definition. That is, they are objects that are useful to accomplishing something, like a hammer is useful in pounding in a nail. Tabloids are convenient news release orifices for news items you want publicized but for some reason, you don't want to release yourself.

This is what makes a tool: you don't need to be told what to do, you just do it. Tabloids don't need to be fed sensitive information, told not to tell anyone, and then go tell everyone. That's what they do. The more you tell them not to scream it, the louder they'll scream it. They're very predictable, nearly robotic, as unthinking as a hammer in that way.

Just like whatever division of the UK's secret service that is assigned to protecting Harry's life does not need to be told to get him off the deadly front-line ASAP. They just did what they needed to, reflexively and without consulting many if any.

It would only take one person. Witness the power of the media.

So is this what really happened? I don't know. I'll never know. Neither will you. The brilliance of the plan is that because the entire British media bought into the secrecy, it could be blamed on any of them. I suppose if you could get New Idea to say who initially told them, you might be able to backtrack it sufficiently.

At this point, the effort out-paces the desire. Beyond my lazy theorizing here, I just don't care. Harry is a royal, he's going to get special treatment as much as he may struggle against it. In a way, it's disturbing. There could be a genuine person in that body that for some is just a symbol like a battlefield banner, or a living advertisement. The poor guy is likely to get corrupted the more that he's treated like that, but we'll see.

I wish him luck.


SOURCE: (1)Australian magazine broke Prince Harry story

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Larry Nocella is the award-winning author of the novel Where Did This Come From? available at Amazon and Xlibris and other fine online book stores. Where Did This Come From? is also available as an eBook. For more info, visit Larry Nocella's website at www.LarryNocella.com.

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