THOSE UNPREDICTABLE extensions of duty and the “Stop-Loss” measures dashed the hopes of many soldiers and their families – but some, at least, were home for Thanksgiving. Continue reading “The Soldiers’ Story” »
SURELY IT WAS ONE OF THE WORST public moments of private pain in the Iraq war. Tahseen Hassan, the husband of murdered aid worker Margaret Hassan, saying with quiet dignity to a TV camera: “Margaret lived with me in Iraq for 30 years. She dedicated her life to serving the Iraqi people. Please, now, please return her to rne.”
There’s an ugly term for an ugly notion – one designed by professionals to deny the reality of the ugliness. It’s “collateral“. Continue reading “The Human Meaning of Collateral” »
A BIG INFLUENCE ON THOSE MEDIA PUNDITS who yelp about John Kerry‘s loss has been Thomas Frank‘s book, What’s the Matter with Kansas?
It tells how conservatives have come to win the heartland. It’s a sharp expression of liberals’ perplexity with ordinary people. It’s title also riffs on a much longer-standing, even more exasperated-sounding question – what about the nation’s youth? Continue reading “Pols perplexed by youth” »
SO HOW GOOD A JOB did the mass media do covering the election? The voters’ choice, at least as defined by those media, was clear – but it had the clarity of an LCD. Not liquid crystal lighting, I’m afraid – but the Lowest Communicable Denominator.
Voters, we’re told, opted for certainty and so-called “steadfastness” (with Bush, supposedly) over thoughtfulness and a readiness to embrace change (claimed by Kerry) – a choice clinched by a slim majority of 3%. Any more elevated or sophisticated examination of the alternatives went entirely missing from the airwaves and most newspaper pages, right down to the day of decision.
“Big Media” was using some crude tools as it reinforced that crude choice. And finally there’s
little as crude as an exit-poll on D-Day itself. Continue reading “Even Those Who Study Past Mistakes Repeat Them” »