Stories from the last week or so worth mentioning.
“Journalism is a flawed profession, but it has a self-correcting mechanism. The rule of journalism is: talk to everybody. In the course of writing my book, I interviewed 600 people and I didn’t get everybody but I got a lot of people. Some of those sources I interviewed dozens of times and I find that the more people you talk to, you get a broader range of opinion and facts than you can possibly get from any small group—but then you can go back and check things that don’t square with what you heard before.”
Act Two: “For 17 months, New York police officer Adrian Schoolcraft recorded himself and his fellow officers on the job, including their supervisors ordering them to do all sorts of things that police aren’t supposed to do. For example, downgrading real crimes into lesser ones, so they wouldn’t show up in the crime statistics and make their precinct look bad.”
“The Texas Board of Education ignited an international firestorm last spring when members approved a controversial new social studies curriculum. The new standards skew hard to the right—championing American capitalism throughout and suggesting religious intentions on the part of the founding fathers.”
“It wasn’t exactly an innocent year, given the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Columbine and the two frames of a topless woman hidden in Disney’s The Rescuers. But since 1999, when Stewart took over as host, the context in which The Daily Show operates has been radically altered. Terrorist attacks, two wars, and a global economic meltdown have charged the political atmosphere. More important for Stewart and his show has been the media transformation. Print is crumbling. The mainstream TV networks have steadily shed seriousness and viewers. The Internet, a minor player at the turn of the century, has become overcrowded with opinion silos. As the new century began, Fox News Channel was finding its fair-and-balanced footing and Glenn Beck, an itinerant radio shock jock, was trying on a new persona, “Limbaugh Lite.” Today, Fox News is an evil empire and Beck just led a messianic Washington rally. America’s politicians, willingly or not, often seem like they’re actors in scripts created by cable producers.”
“Some weeks ago I flew from New York to Islamabad, Pakistan, to experience summer in the country where my parents were born and where I lived as a child. I love summer in Pakistan: the mangoes, the monsoon and, this year, Ramadan, the mystical month of the Islamic calendar, all came in August. A week after I landed, the monsoon clouds arrived, but this time the Indus River swelled and burst its banks: my vacation coincided with the largest natural disaster in Pakistan’s history.”