news eh?

Ha ha ha.
Andy and I were musing this weekend that even though we make moderate attempts to keep up with the news–I check CNN at least once a day and spend a couple of hours with the Sunday Grand Rapids Press (and a fine publication it is)–we really have no clue what is going on in the world.
For example, the news out of Iraq has been extremely depressing, and demoralizing, lately. Here is what is going on in Iraq, according to the news:
(1) Soldiers are being killed.
(2) Americans are torturing prisoners.
I’m not complaining that this reflects media bias or anything like that. These are clearly important news stories, and I would agree that the second is the most important story coming out of Iraq at this time. These people need to be investigated and punished, and we need to do what it takes to make sure this stops and never happens again.
My complaint is that I want to know what’s going on over there. These are two things that are happening in Iraq. Is anything else going on? Are the soldiers who are not getting killed or torturing people sitting around on their butts all day? What are the Iraqi people doing (besides the ones shooting at soldiers)? Whatever happened to this turning over of power to the Iraqi people thing–that seems like a pretty big story.
For that matter, whatever happened to North Korea’s nuclear program? No idea. What’s going on in Afghanistan (besides the occasional killing of an American soldier by “militants”)? The world is a pretty big place, and I’m pretty sure there’s stuff going on outside of the Middle East. I’d be interested in hearing about some of it.
Here’s the main headlines on CNN when I checked it today:
(1) Pentagon briefing Bush.
(2) Investigation of 1955 slaying of black teen reopened.
(3) Kobe Bryant to enter formal plea. (This again? It seemed to me that The Media was hoping for a Simpson-like media circus about this case, and failed to drum up the public interest. Are they having another try? Can’t we allow the alleged victim some dignity and let the justice system do its work?)
(4) Mother of Osmond family dies.
(5) Alaskans begin burying winter’s dead. (Please don’t ask me to believe that this is the 5th most important thing going on in the world today).
(6) Comic and actor Alan King dead at 76.
(7) “Van Helsing” is monster at box office.
57% of the top headlines are entertainment-related. I know they want to put a variety of stuff of interest up there, but honestly, I don’t check the news to read about the deaths or crimes of entertainers, or movie reviews. For that stuff, I can read Entertainment Weekly, which continues to be mysteriously delivered to our apartment despite the fact we’ve never paid anyone for it.
I used to want to be a reporter, and still believe that it is the main responsibility of the media to report the information that the citizens of a free country need to know in order to keep that country free. This is an election year, and I feel more than ever that I’m expected to make a decision almost entirely on hype instead of information. The candidates make diametrically opposed claims about what they’ve done or plan to do, and where can I go to find out who is telling the truth? Definitely not the news.

2 Responses to “news eh?”

  1. Kim says:

    I have no idea where you should go to find out the real news going on in the world, but in terms of the presidential election, you should check out According to their mission statement they are nonpartisan and my impression is that when either candidate is full of baloney, they do not hesitate to call him on it and provide the real facts to counter the bogus hype.

  2. michele says:

    This is very cool! I’m perusing Bush’s distortion of Kerry’s defense record this morning.

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