out the world do not originate fromnJerusalem. Derivative, repetitive, trivial,nself-serving exercises in arid eruditionntake the place of the world-classnscholarship of an earlier better day atnthe Hebrew University of Jerusalem.nThe great generation of the founders isnnow dead, and those surviving arenthird-rate, sterile erudites who knowneverything and understand nothing.nNo wonder they raised the stakes sonhigh in trying to keep control of thesenimportant documents: it gave themnpower.nBut the sad denouement tells thenwhole tale. When the Huntington Librarynannounced its decision to circulatenphotographs of the documents forneveryone to see, the archaeologicalnauthorities in Jerusalem exploded, thennfumed and sputtered about “a lawsuit.”nThey weren’t sure what theynwould sue for or how or why, but theynblustered all the same. They evenntalked airily about “immorality,”nthough by this time everybody knewnthe difference between hot air and thencool breath of moral authority. ThenNew York Times headline that weeknhad “Israel” ready to sue, but for oncenprivate enterprise could not manipulatenpublic interest: the Prime Minister’snoflRce, no less, said “no.” Thenscholars in Jerusalem ate crow, and itnwill be their breakfast, lunch, and suppernfor a long time to come. Plenty ofnscholars throughout the world thinknthey deserve to choke on it.n— Jacob NeusnernWHEN NETWORK NEWS magnatesnfrom Manhattan send their camerasnto cover small towns in the Mid­n10/CHRONICLESnLIBERAL ARTSnCULTURAL ENRICHMENTnEthnic squabbling erupted into a violentnconfrontation between 25 detainees andntheir guards at the Federal Immigrationnand Naturalization Service detentionncenter in lower Manhattan last December.nAccording to the New York Times, andozen people were injured, includingnfive corrections officers.nwest, what happens? Well, when CBSnNews came to my hometown ofnViroqua, Wisconsin, the result was angrain of truth wrapped in an inch-thicknsour ball of negative hype.nWhen it comes to the Great Fly-nOver between New York and LosnAngeles, story ideas often aren’t original.nThe CBS story had all the fingerprintsnof a much longer (and better)nstory in the Wall Street Journal lastnJune. Like the Journal, CBS focusednon the retail giant Wal-Mart and hownits arrival could spell doom for smallnbusinesses. Like the Journal, CBSntrekked to Viroqua and to Anamosa,nIowa. The network’s motto must be:nbetter late than never, and better with anTV camera.nAs part of their Eye on Americanseries, CBS sent reporter Frank Curriernfrom Chicago in a folksy sweaternand jeans to tell the tale. But thenbeginning of the story demonstrated allnthe shortcomings of the network news,nparticularly its tendency to make andrama out of everything. Drama is finenif you don’t mislead the viewer in thenprocess, but CBS began with a depressingnmelange of images: “Closed”nsigns, locked doors, boarded-up buildings.nAll of these were intermixed withnaudio snippets of local people: “It’s sadnto see a town become a ghost town,”n”our dime store went out,” “they werenrun out of business.” Whose ghostntown? Whose dime store? Whosenfailed business? With CBS focusing onnat least two towns, viewers had no cluenas to what those audio snippets werenreferring. Currier solemnly began: “Inntown after small town. Main Street isngoing out of business.”nnnThose first 30 seconds may have setna mood, but they didn’t tell the truth.nLocal viewers had to be confused, ornperhaps amused. As CBS painted anpicture of Midwestern ghost towns,nthey made the big-city mistake ofnshowing the city limits signs for Avalanchenand Bud, two of VernonnCounty’s tiny unincorporated towns.nThe metropolis of Bud contains ancheese factory and the Volden family,nand other than the Volden kids migratingninto town, there is no depression innBud.nAs one voice declared “It’s sad tonsee a town become a ghost town,” theynshowed the city limits sign of CoonnValley (population 758), which is nearingnextinction no time soon. I knownthis from a very good local authority:nmy dad, who’s sold advertising fornViroqua’s radio station for thirty years.nLocal businesses have suffered (andnsome long-lasting stores closed) due tonthe arrival of Wal-Mart and its buy-bythe-tonnprice advantage. But Currier,nwho cited no statistics for his earliernassertion that entire small-town MainnStreets were going out of business,nthen contradicted himself: “Changenhelped save Viroqua, Wisconsin,nwhere they beat the drums on MainnStreet, where merchants challengednWal-Mart and restored faith in familynbusiness.”nAfter the story appeared, my dadntold me some local merchants werendisappointed with the tone of the story.nI told him the story’s fairly upbeatnending came as a surprise. While mostnof our television entertainment aims toncapture our attention by making us feelnwarm and fuzzy, the news shows oftennsucceed by exaggerating the negative,naiming at our anxieties about the future.nAfter all, in the Viroqua I grew upnin, businesses came and went, survivednthe Great Inflation, boomed a little innthe 1980’s, and yet never came to thenattention of the national news before.nViroqua may have had its four minutesnof national fame, but in the translationnfrom real-life experience tonsmall-screen drama, the network’s cinematicnmontages failed to make anyndistinction between the thorny challengenof business competition and thenimminent migration of small-townnAmerica, leaving everything behind fornthe wildlife.n— Tim Grahamn