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  •  Not with a bang, but a whimper ... (2+ / 0-)
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    redglare, dotcommodity

    I dunno, folks. This seems like scaremongering to me. Yes, nuclear proliferation is growing again, and yes, the odds of a nuclear bomb going off somewhere have increased, but I grew up during the Cold War and I just find it hard to believe things are as dangerous now as then ... even with madmen like Bush and Kim Jong Il (or whatever his name is) in charge of what are essentially terrorist governments.

    Global warming, on the other hand, seems like a much more clear and present concern. I mean, geez, we have all the evidence we need now to prove that it's happening, and the environmental consequences could be even more catastrophic than a 20- or 40-megaton blast somewhere. What's worse is that this is a problem most of our policy makers are not even focused on and do not seem to able to address in a creative and serious manner.

    Maybe it's time for the Union of Concerned Scientists to create an Environmental Doomsday Clock that would show how close our planet is to the tipping point, beyond which our ecology's ability to maintain human life cannot be sustained. With all due respect to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and T.S. Eliot, I strongly suspect that the greatest threat we face these days is from our own everyday, energy-consuming lifestyles. IMHO, we appear more likely to slowly poison ourselves to death with our own filth than to go up in a radioactive fireball. I only hope that I am wrong.

    Interesting topic. Oh well, back to work for now. ...

    •  Couldn't agree more. (0+ / 0-)

      Global warming, on the other hand, seems like a much more clear and present concern. I mean, geez, we have all the evidence we need now to prove that it's happening, and the environmental consequences could be even more catastrophic than a 20- or 40-megaton blast somewhere.

      We (you and me) may have all the evidence we need. Unfortunately, we don't get it into the news.

      I was watching how NBC's Brian Williams covered the Breaking ! ! story of
      US Climate Change Victims Abandoned By Insurance Industry

      Ahh sorry, no connection made: just a story about up-in-arms Florida pensioners, upset that their insurance rates rose fivefold...how quaint...nothing to see here, move along.

      By the time the oceans take Manhattan it will be over with

      by dotcommodity on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 10:19:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        redglare, dotcommodity

        ... as usual, the corporate MSM outlets are doing a lousy job of covering this story, probably because the issues it raises work against their consumerist agenda and profit margins.

        When part of a Manhattan-sized Arctic ice shelf broke up a couple of weeks ago, I was briefly hopeful that the global warming problem would get more attention. CBS, CNN, and MSNBC did a couple of pieces about it and featured it prominently on their websites. Since then ... crickets.

        Where is today's Ed Murrow to do a special CBS reports about this subject? Brian Williams seems content to be a bagman for General Electric. Keith Olbermann, much as I like him and enjoy his special comments, appears more interested in fueling his feud with Bill O'Lielly and reporting the latest news on Britney's wardrobe malfunctions. It's a sad situation. Perhaps we need to get Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell to fight it out over a melting glacier or something. First person to fall through the ice and freeze to death loses.

        Pardon me if I sound bitter, but it's very frustrating to see what passes for journalism these days. And I say that as a former newspaper reporter myself. Things were bad enough when I got out of the business back in the early 90s. They're even worse now.

        •  Why not get back in then? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          redglare

          Is that a possibility? And do they actually tell you not to slant things or do they just pick the dumbest slant-er by chance, because the editor is clueless? How does it work?

          By the time the oceans take Manhattan it will be over with

          by dotcommodity on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 12:40:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Those who play ball get promoted... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dotcommodity

            ...and those who cause problems and rock the boat generally don't.

            [RED/GLARE]

            For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

            --Mark Twain

            by redglare on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 12:53:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  First, it's all about basic economics ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            redglare

            Starting with paying the editorial staff rock-bottom salaries that don't even amount to a living wage. On-air talent like Brian Williams and Keith Olbermann may get multimillion-dollar contracts, but I can say from personal experience that, at least in print journalism, the working stiffs who actually do the research and gather facts are struggling to make ends meet. For that reason alone, I would never go back to news reporting.

            Second, and more importantly, the agenda of journalism is driven by business interests, from the publisher (or broadcasting executive) on down. Most of the editors and reporters I knew wanted to do more investigative and public-service types of stories, but there was little support for those projects from senior management or (to be honest) from the public. I was never specifically told to slant an article one way or another, and I would have refused if so ordered, but the assignments I was given determined much of what I wrote. It's like a railroad. Trains are as impartial as reporters, but once you lay down the tracks for them, well, they tend to go along those lines.

            On occasion, I did report stories that challenged local power structures, especially with regard to education issues. All I got for it was grief, and the readers did NOT appreciate being told that their kids were doing worse on state tests than the students in any other local school district, even as their superintendent made more money than any other in the area. That's just one example.

            A large part of the reason that things are worse now is also that there has been more consolidation of the media as well. The small, family-owned local paper, radio, or TV station could be held accountable to the public, and a few rare owners/publishers actually did try to incorporate social responsibility into how they practiced journalism. Now, ever since the deregulation of the industry began in the 1980s, most papers/stations are just chain-store outlets for huge companies that are more interested in selling entertainment and generating ever-larger profits than in serving the public. The pressure on news departments to cut costs and generate revenue is obscene. It's sad, but that's what we get when we let the marketplace of ideas be run by the lowest common denominator (in other words, money, not fairness or justice or truth).

            Sorry for the rant, but this is a sore subject for me. I honestly do not think things will ever change until the people demand better news coverage and vote with their ears, eyes, minds, and wallets by tuning out the MSM and forcing it to serve them again, instead of the other way around.

            •  and vote with their ears, eyes, minds (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              redglare

              like here? I just don't follow MSM other than checking up on what the country is seeing, by watching NBC.
              Imagine an TV evening news comprised of citizen journalism like here.

              By the time the oceans take Manhattan it will be over with

              by dotcommodity on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 02:31:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I always thought that would be a great idea... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dotcommodity

                ... the Daily Kos Evening News.

                [RED/GLARE]

                For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

                --Mark Twain

                by redglare on Thu Jan 18, 2007 at 07:25:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Like Olbermann to anchor it? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  redglare

                  Mainstream our values! Amy Goodman, Greg Palast, Seymore Hirsh to be regulars on it.
                  Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington among the pundits to opine...
                  I feel a diary coming on...!

                  By the time the oceans take Manhattan it will be over with

                  by dotcommodity on Thu Jan 18, 2007 at 11:19:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Um, not to burst anyone's bubble, but ... (0+ / 0-)

                ... Daily Kos doesn't actually produce much, if any, hard news coverage of its own. I am talking about independent, investigative reporting that relies on the diarist (or commenter) making phone calls, gathering information on his/her own, contacting other sources to confirm said information, following up on that, etc., etc.

                Instead, most of what I see from Kossacks is a lot of cutting and pasting of MSM articles, backed up with a heavy dose of the author's opinions and personal anecdotes or thoughts. There is nothing wrong with this, and as "citizen journalism" I suppose it has its place, but it's also not a substitute for real reporting.

                Look, I applaud what people are doing here, and I am certainly not defending the corporate MSM. Personally, I would love to see Daily Kos become the most accurate, trusted source of news in the country. I just don't believe that we are there yet. And to make it happen, we need to do a better job of policing ourselves and holding this blog to at least as high a standard as any local newspaper (and preferably a higher standard than that) when it comes to checking out facts, getting them right, and correcting the public record when necessary.

                My apologies in advance if I am missing something here. I will admit that I am not as familiar with the editorial content of Daily Kos as I would like to be. By way of defense, I can only say that I work full time and spend most of my off hours writing to my elected officials to urge their support for progressive policies, and otherwise trying to take action to push for progressive causes. However, thus far, I simply haven't found the kind of credible reporting that I am sure Kossacks can do, given the time and other resources required to practice alternative journalism.

                IMHO, we have many more cases of rampant speculation based on wishful thinking (such as all the diaries about how Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury was going to indict Karl Rove last spring) than we have our own Seymour Hersh or Greg Palast digging out details from the Department of State or the Federal Board of Elections on how the Bush Administration plans to attack Iran or steal an election. When the Daily Kos can provide its readers with more of the latter and less of the former, then we will have arrived.

                •  True, we are more like the OP ed pages of the NYT (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  redglare

                  than a newspaper that uncovers new news. But the atention here, the alacrity in connecting the dots, is unparalleled in the regular news biz Op Ed pages, I think.

                  But wouldnt it be a great way to fix the problems of the media, to have it be not funded by advertising.

                  Now that websites can cheaply broadcast on tv, is the time to look into a dailykos evening news. I suggest Olbermann read it.

                  By the time the oceans take Manhattan it will be over with

                  by dotcommodity on Thu Jan 18, 2007 at 11:16:22 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  C'mon philimus... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dotcommodity

                  ... you know the nightly news braodcasts are little more than a rehashing of reporting done by newspapers with neat-o graphics and good looking talking heads dumbing down the newspaper reporting. They do very little hard news reporting either, for crying out loud. What they DO have is a budget to send reporters to war zones and on presidential trips. That would be way cool, to have dkos bloggers on that kind of reporting.

                  But in terms of MSM investigative reporting? There is none.

                  [RED/GLARE]

                  For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

                  --Mark Twain

                  by redglare on Thu Jan 18, 2007 at 11:37:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, dotcommodity and redglare ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dotcommodity

                    ... I agree that most Kossacks do a great job of connecting the dots and looking at issues in a more comprehensive way than you ever see in the op-ed pages. I also think you're right that it would be extremely beneficial to have alternative media not be dependent on advertising. But that is easier said than done. After all, even the mighty Kos needs to post ads here to generate revenue. It just doesn't affect the editorial content of the website, so that does show what a positive model blogs can provide as a platform for citizen journalists.

                    As for the TV news, yes, it is true that they are little more than headline services now, partly because their corporate sponsors do not support in-depth reporting, and partly because the networks (even cable) can get better ratings (and more ad money) from dumbed-down programming for the masses. Even so, I just want to make two quick points before I have to get back to work:

                    1. It isn't entirely fair to say MSM never do investigative stories. If that were true, why did NBC's Lisa Myers recently dig deep into the Pentagon procurement process to find out that the Army is refusing to field the Israeli-designed TROPHY defense system that could protect our soldiers for rocket-propelled grenades? That was a short but effective piece on "Countdown," but it still came from NBC, and Myers thoroughly dismantled every argument the Army brass gave to Congress for why they would not at least field test the system. (Personally, my cynical side suspects the story was done because Raytheon has a contract to develop a similar system by 2011 and General Electric is competing for the job.) Also, I believe Seymour Hersh regularly contributes to The New Yorker, and if that is not MSM, I don't know what is.
                    1. As good as the diarists and commenters are here, I do not see many of them filing Freedom of Information Act requests, combing through boring bureaucratic documents to uncover how public funds are being mis-spent, or otherwise doing independent, original research to counter the propaganda of the MSM.

                    Believe me, I am on your side, and I am not trying to belittle the valuable service that I think Daily Kos provides to the public. I know firsthand how expensive and time-consuming it is to do such investigative reporting. For eight years, I tried my best to give the readers of the newspapers I worked for the facts beyond the official sources of local government public relations spin ... until finally I realized I could not accumulate any more debt and had to earn a living wage for a change.

                    FWIW, I totally support the idea of citizen journalists using blogs to change the system. I feel the potential is here to revolutionize the way information is gathered and disseminated today, and I would love to see Kossacks contribute financially to their own news network that could set standards for making such change a reality. The truth is that I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on how that could be done.

                    Thanks for listening, and now I must return to my office labors.

    •  that is a good idea (0+ / 0-)

      time for the Union of Concerned Scientists to create an Environmental Doomsday Clock that would show how close our planet is to the tipping point,

      By the time the oceans take Manhattan it will be over with

      by dotcommodity on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 10:19:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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