I don’t know who to more disappointed with after reading Glenn Greenwald today; the media or the people. Greenwald breaks down how reporters who should be reporting on the candidate’s issues and stances instead report on which candidate is the most likeable or respectable; choosing to ignore the nerdy or “ex-girlfriend” like candidates. This blog by Michael Scherer for Time pretty much breaks it down completely. He a Republican trying to decide between McCain and Romney. How does he do it? Does he weigh their issues or their past records? Does he look at the promises they have made while running for office and whether or not they were kept? Nah, he compares McCain to the cool kid in high school while Romney was that kid with the pencil protector who came in on Saturday to help out the teachers. On and on he goes about how much cooler McCain is than Romney and how it would be better to have a cool guy running the world as opposed to a nerd. The saddest part about this kind of reporting (and Scherer is by no means the only one) is that people buy it. Look at McCain’s numbers, watch a few articles about how cool he is get published, and then see his numbers rise a few points while a candidate that it being portrayed as nerdy or annoying sees his or her numbers drop. People actually change their opinions based on articles they read about the coolness of a candidate. I understand that it takes a lot of work, a lot of searching to find out where candidates really stand and which one’s have the most in common with one’s specific views, but don’t you think choosing the person who is going to run the world for the next four years – especially at this juncture of time – is something that time and effort should be put into? As I’ve said before, the only reason the media gets away with focusing on the stuff they focus on is not because they are corporately owned; it’s because we let them. As soon as we stop buying the bullshit they are feeding us and instead search for the real news (it’s out there), that’s when the mainstream newspapers and magazines will be forces to do some real reporting. Another example is Glen Reynolds today; he reports that, in Michigan, gun ownership is up and murderers are down; drawing the obvious (to him) conclusion that more guns equals more safety. Never mind that he’s ignoring the fact that there could be dozens of other reasons why this is occurring (or the fact that Detroit led all cities in the US in murders in 2006), he doesn’t even bother to look at other states. Lets take Texas for example; they have a very high gun ownership rate and – coincidentally? – are up near the top in murders per capita.
Iraq is going poorly, Afghanistan is even worse, Pakistan is falling apart right in front of our eyes, and the Republicans would lose badly if the elections were held today. While issues like gay marriage or immigration have worked in the past to get people’s minds off of the bigger ones, this time something bigger is needed. If only there was some kind of excuse to attack Iran (since the whole “made in Iran” IEDs didn’t seem to work). CNN reported yesterday that ship (probably) manned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards threatened and provoked a ship manned by the US Navy in the Strait of Hormuz. A US ship getting attacked would not only give Bush (who believes he has the right to attack anyone he wants without congressional approval) the perfect excuse to start bombing Iran; but it would also be the perfect Catastrophic Emergency to enact National Security Presidential Directive 51. Everything CNN is reporting is coming from unnamed sources- maybe even the same sources from the Gulf of Tonkin. This is where reporters are the most important part of our society. As of right now this has just been reported in a few places, so we are at a fork; reporters for the mainstream papers can copy what they read on CNN to their papers or magazines, thereby getting the citizenry on edge about our newest enemies or they can do some research, find out who these sources are, get some sources with different stories about what happened, and report the truth. Even if the media decides to do the same things they did leading up to Iraq, we the people should still be able to see right through it; fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
Protests have begun in Palestine over tomorrows visit of George W Bush to Israel. The Palestinians are claiming that Bush is ignoring their problems by only visiting Israel and that were he to take a ride through some of the Palestinian streets he would see that they are people too; they are not all suicide bombers and rocket launchers. He would see the people who are dying because they cannot get the proper medical care, he would see that the children who throw rocks at tanks are not very different than the children in the US or Israel or anywhere else. The Israel/Palestine situation is obviously a very tricky one, one that does not have any simple (or maybe even complicated) answer. However, it is quite obvious that in the view of the US administration, Israel can do no wrong and Palestine is filled with insane Islamo terrorists. I can see this situation from both points of view and I’m not going to go into who is right and who is wrong because I feel that they are both wrong. Israel is wrong for treating Palestinians like Jews have been treated throughout history, Palestinians are wrong for responding with suicide bombs and rocket attacks, Israelis are wrong for responding with random raids and killings, and so on and so forth. However, if a solution is ever going to be reached, the first thing that has to be done is to treat them both as equals; they are both nations full of human beings who just want to live a free life without having to fear death at every turn. The stepping stone has to be both of them admitting they are wrong and then starting from there, but giving all positive attention to Israel and all condemnations to Palestine is never going to accomplish anything constructive.
If you are not part of my email reminder list and would like to be, shoot me an email.