Saturday, March 13, 2010

MORE on the Missing Afghanistan Debate, Journalism Rescue Plan

In response to my recent post on the lack of coverage of the Afghanistan debate, Elizabeth of Newsy.com pointed me to a video clip on this very issue. You can watch it below or click here for the link:



In the video, Newsy.com takes a look at the media’s reaction to Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s criticism that the press was disgracefully ignoring a three-hour debate on whether to keep troops in Afghanistan. The video clip mentions a Politics Daily columnist who confessed to be “guilty as charged” to Kennedy’s criticism, but notes the overwhelming opinion among the mainstream media that “it’s hardly like we haven’t covered the war in Afghanistan” (the words of Chris Wallace of Fox News).

Kennedy’s condemnation of the press was a two-minute tirade in the midst of a three-hour conversation about war. Newsy.com seems to reach the same conclusion that even with Kennedy’s outburst in the Afghanistan debate, the mainstream media seemed interested only in the spectacle and conflict inherent in Kennedy’s critique, and not the debate as a whole.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Curious Case of the Missing Debate: A Hapless Press Called Out in Congress

For three hours on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, Congress had a weighty debate on the issue of war and peace. Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic of Ohio, submitted a resolution to end the nine-year, $250 billion occupation of Afghanistan, a military operation in which more than 1,000 American lives were lost, along with the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civilians.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NOT A BAILOUT FOR NEWSPAPERS: The Nichols and McChesney Rescue Plan for Journalism

[John Nichols (left) and Bob McChesney (right) answer questions about their plan to salvage American journalism in the Siebel Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign]


There is a real solution to what’s ailing journalism.

The issue is, much like how it’s easier to criticize than find solutions, that it’s much easier to report on only the stumbles and falls of American journalism than it is to pitch ideas on how to save it. This is how the mainstream operates. Solutions tend to come from outside the main; otherwise, there wouldn’t be any crisis in the first place.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

ON ABC GUTTING ITSELF: APOCALYPSE, CANNIBALISM AND THE DOWNSIDE TO AMPUTATION


There’s plenty of disturbing stuff in Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” What with the end of the world and all, death, destruction and despair, you can imagine the apocalypse is not a happy place. But the most disturbing part of this story, about a man attempting to train his son to survive an inhumane world while saving his own humanity, was the cannibalism.

Cannibalism is pretty harsh subject on its own. But “The Road” uses that subject to make a distinction between two classes of survivalists: those who eat meat, and those who don’t. And when the only livestock in this post-apocalyptic wasteland is the human kind, that dualism is pretty extreme.

Some saw that as a moral argument for vegetarianism. Others said that was overanalyzing, and commented that cannibalism was a metaphor for mankind’s failure. However, in the course of watching the film adaptation when the Man and the Boy came across bloody kitchenware, I simply made a connection and gasped “WHAT ARE THEY COOKING IN THOSE POTS?”

The film adaptation took liberties with the book, including one of many scenes where the Man and the Boy hide from bands of roving cannibals. Riding in the back of a Mad-Maxified truck, the cannibals came in all shapes and sizes. There were trucker cannibals. There were cannibals in hazmat suits. There were cannibals with guns, cannibals with knives, and cannibals with crudely fashioned bludgeons. It was not explicitly written in the book, but in this scene of the film adaptation, there were cannibals missing limbs.

It wasn’t explicit, either, but it was implied that these cannibals got so desperate as to hack off and consume their arms and legs. That’s called autocannibalism, or autosarcophagy. It’s also possible the meat-eaters became severely injured in a fight with some prey, and without any advanced medical treatment, resorted to amputation. As reasonable as the latter explanation is, I’m more inclined to believe the former, as it fits with the story’s theme of abject despair.

The limbless cannibals were the first thing to come to mind when I read the Los Angeles Times story about ABC News shuttering all but its Washington bureau and hacking off a quarter of its staff. David Westin, president of ABC News, told the New York Times that he was concerned that the major broadcast news network could not “sustain doing what [it] was doing.” Up to 400 ABC News staffers could lose their jobs.