Newswatch: Excluded from the Big Moment

Anyone who spent much time at the television set, as millions did, during a fortnight of American rites—the Inaugural, the flight home of the hostages, the Super Bowl with its quasi minute of silent prayer—saw some memorable moments. But the proportion of the memorable to the banal, the overhyped, the stage waits, the garrulous monologues when nothing was happening, was about 1 to 10.

The great emotional climax of all these months, the reunion of the hostages and their families, fortunately occurred offscreen, in privacy. Would it have happened in privacy if...

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