Former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin waves goodbye after her speech during the NRA national convention in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, May 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
History, the novelist Milan Kundera wrote, is but a thin thread stretched across the ocean of what is forgotten. This may explain why the further back you go into American history, the more consensus there tends to be about our presidents. If you wanted to come up with a revisionist view of George Washington, it would require a lot of work, since what most of us have at hand are a few images -- the first president at Valley Forge, crossing the Delaware, nobly stepping down for the good of the country.
You no doubt remember the story of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two reporters who were detained last year by the North Korean government. They had some advantages in getting their release secured -- their boss at Current TV was Al Gore, a somewhat influential guy, and Ling's sister is Lisa Ling, a well-known television journalist who can pick up the phone and get important officials on the line (the two sisters have just released a book about the affair).