If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves. - Howard Zinn
Someone pointed out to me that North Korea has been awfully quiet this week, all things considered. Or, at least, our crackerjack news networks haven’t seen fit to cover them.
True, we have had two major events happen in close succession - the Boston bombing and the plant explosion in Texas. Oh, and how our “lawmakers” sprang into action when airline profits were threatened by the government budget battles.
Other than that, though, what else (other than stories about the Boston bomber) have we learned about?
We have seen endless footage of the Royal “baby bump,” with anxious Americans being informed of the child’s role when it comes to succeeding the current Queen of England - roughly, a few thousand supermarket openings and other photo ops to go, kid.
We don’t actually know anything about the oddly-bland made for TV Royal couple, other than what press releases tell us . . . but then, modern journalism lives on press releases.
The opening of the George Bush Presidential Library, which featured fawning reporter after fawning reporter talking to the former president about his new found love for painting.
Som yes, Wagnerian Reader, one might possibly be forgiven for thinking that nothing else happened in the world this week. Except for . . .
I picked up a copy of the New York Times yesterday, just to see if there might have been one or two stories the networks might have let slip through the cracks, and here are some of the nuggets I found:
North Korea Issues Threat At Ceremony For Military - North Korean generals warned that not only were their forces ready to launch ICBM attacks against this country, but that the North is “ . . . one click away from pressing the launch button.” The claim was made that pilots, instead of loading up with fuel for a return trip, would be prepared to launch “kamikaze-like” attacks against this country.
Venezuela Says U.S. Citizen Plotted Unrest - Timothy Hallett was arrested on accusations that he was working with right-wing groups hoping to promote violence, and possibly even a civil war.
Cuba: U.S. Bars Raul Castro’s Daughter from a Forum - Castro’s daughter was to attend a gay rights conference in Philadelphia next week, when she was to receive an award. No explanation was given for the decision to bar her from the conference.
South Africa: Lawmakers Pass Contentious Secrecy Bill - The South African government approved a highly criticized bill would increase the government’s power to restrict access to information.
Agency Halts Trials for AIDS Vaccine - A trial of a possible Vaccine against AIDS was halted because it appeared not to be working, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Cancer Specialists Attack High Drug Costs - More than 100 cancer specialist from around the globe met to take what has been described as the “first step” in banding together in the hopes of persuading drug companies to bring their prices down.
Wouldn’t it be nice if “lawmakers” who get campaign donations from drug manufacturers also felt such concern?
And if this wasn’t bad enough, it takes the excellent HBO documentary series VICE to lay open just what is happening in Europe, while on American TV news all we hear is that folks are in an uproar due to “austerity measures.”
I still cling to the old-fashioned view that knowing things (real things, not conspiracy drenched crap) is important to our culture, and to ourselves as human beings. It sets good example for our friends, and for the young people in our lives, while being pig ignorant, on the other hand . . .
Maybe it’s too late to expect anything of local and national news, but we can expect more of ourselves, and it only takes a few minutes a week to stay informed.
And here is one bit of news a local anchor and weatherman twisted out of all proportion
A local anchor and weatherman were practically giving each other high fives a few days ago, because “the drought is over.”
This headline from the New York Times:
In Midwest, Drought Gives way To Flood.
Deep, deep sigh.
Quote of the Day
The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition. - Carl Sagan