Monday, October 11, 2004

The TV News Test

Happy Columbus Day! To celebrate, I suggest that you gift a blanket infected with small pox to any co-workers who decry the celebration of Columbus. Or, if you are not that hard core, merely point out to them that when Columbus landed in the West Indies, he was not greeted by the Noble Savage - i.e. man in the state of nature uncorrpupted by Western institutions and living in a promordial paradise - no, he was greeted by a tribe that was winnowing in numbers because the rival tribe on the island was eating them!


John Edwards has brought up the very interesting point that all one needs to do to see how much of a disaster Iraq is today is to turn on the evening news. It is a test that proves too much. To any readers in a big city, take this test: watch your local nightly news for a couple of days, and ask yourself if your city is as much of a disaster as you might think watching the news. If the conclusion you reach from the nightly news is that we should pull out of Iraq, I would go one further and say we should pull out of DC as well.

Indeed, I worked several years ago for a couple of weeks in Dublin, where I would debate one of my Irish clients about politics. The Irish are obsessed with American politics - they loved Clinton for paying so much attention to Northern Ireland. Anyway, in the course of one of our debates, he honestly admitted to me a startling fact: that in all of the years of the IRA killings, fewer people had been killed in the Northern Ireland conflict than there were murders in DC in one year (I forget which year he cited). See - even Northern Ireland, which makes our news only for car bombings, is a relatively stable region, contrary to the impression that any American news hound would have. It's also more evidence for getting the hell out of DC.

As I read recently, the coalition forces could build 10 new bridges, and the only one you'd ever have a chance of seeing is the one that gets subsequently blown up. Here are some links to news that you won't hear on TV because you have to have an IQ of above 100 to think about such questions (which makes them out of bounds for TV journalists), the answers to which are news-worthy. Here. Here. Here.


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