The problem with heroes

By ADAM REILLY  |  October 10, 2007

Obviously, there are some big differences between Talbot’s death, on the one hand, and Cahill’s and Payne’s on the other. For our purposes here, this may be the most important: the lack of detail about Talbot’s shooting quickly raised questions that still haven’t been answered, while Cahill and Payne seemed, for a long time, to be above reproach. Until they weren’t.

But maybe the media shouldn’t need red flags to make it proceed with caution and a modicum of detachment on stories like this. Maybe, instead, the simple fact that every hero is also a fallible human — and that we in the press may need to chronicle this fallibility — should be enough to take the edge off our adulation. When public grief is at its peak, this may seem like an awfully cold solution. In the long run, though, it’s probably better than trying to have it both ways.

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