January 16, 2009

History's Verdict

As delivered by Dan Froomkin:
He took the nation to a war of choice under false pretenses -- and left troops in harm's way on two fields of battle. He embraced torture as an interrogation tactic and turned the world's champion of human dignity into an outlaw nation and international pariah. He watched with detachment as a major American city went under water. He was ostensibly at the helm as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression took hold. He went from being the most popular to the most disappointing president, having squandered a unique opportunity to unite the country and even the world behind a shared agenda after Sept. 11. He set a new precedent for avoiding the general public in favor of screened audiences and seemed to occupy an alternate reality. He took his own political party from seeming permanent majority status to where it is today. And he deliberately politicized the federal government, circumvented the traditional policymaking process, ignored expert advice and suppressed dissent, leaving behind a broken government.


Bukko_in_Australia said...

Froomkin's column is the only thing I'm enthusiastic about reading in the Post any more. The rest of the content, especially the "news" stories, seems like spin and weak tea. I think I've said it here before, but it's a damn shame about what's happened to what I used to consider my hometown paper, the organ I modeled myself after during my first career.

Because you have written about the decline of the U.S. meeja before, have you seen this doom-laden story about how a dozen major U.S. publications are likely to fail in 2009? They include the Miami Herald, which used to be my competitor on major stories affecting the tiny Florida town I was stationed in when I was a journo for the Tampa Tribune.

And here, The Age has eliminated a number of our favourite writers such as John Lethlean in the food section. They no longer have a stand-alone opinion or business section in the Saturday paper, and the employment and real estate sections have been combined. The paper is thinner and thinner, but the cost is still $2.40. So I'm not buying any more. And so goes the slow decline...

gandhi said...

Sure, ain't it a damn shame what happened to the US media industry. But like the auto industry and the tobacco industry and the slave industry, they deserved it. Now if only the military industry would collapse as well, the whole country might be able to begin anew.

But of course the military industry cannot collapse unless the entire government goes as well.

Meanwhile, there must be huge openings for online news with local semi-pro reporters getting paid on a per-story basis, or even a per-hit basis.

HuffPo seem to be doing alright, but they are in tight with the Obama camp (hence few references to Israeli war crimes like the disgraceful tank fire on a hospital today, which forced even premature babies in incubators into the carpark).

How about you sell all your gold stocks and start up the New Bukko Times?

Bukko_in_Australia said...

No gold "stocks," mate, just the real thing. I have to assume it's real, because our gnome in Switzerland swears that the bank actually has the requisite number of ounces in a vault somewhere. They could be lying; selling 10 times as much as they physically possess and hoping that there's never a run on the vault.

Even if there is, the bank rules are that you can't redeem for the physical coins/bars, just the money value of what you "own" in whatever currency you want. So it could all be bullshit, fiat gold just as there is fiat currency. I just have to have faith in the system, as we all do at some level. I've just chosen to place my bets on the Swiss, based on their track record of keeping even the money of Holocaust-murdered Jews intact after the war (although not telling the survivors about it until they were forced to in court.)

Who knows? The Swiss could be as crooked as everyone else now. There does seem to be a paradigm shift toward bogus-ness worldwide. At least we aren't doing business with UBS. THEN I'd be worried.

As for the meeja, I forsee a world with a relative few news gathering organisations like the wire services with fact-gathering reporters and a small number of dead-tree publications. There has to be something for the computer illiterate and people who want to read on the trams/toilets. There will be a larger community of news aggregator sites like HuffPo, and lots of bloggers like Greenwald who analyse source documents and make sense of them.

In the new world of less work and more idle time, educated people will spend more time reading. The ideological divide will also widen, with the Right and Left living in different universes. But as always, the inert masses will keep their noses in the grass like sheep, while the 20% of involved people push and shove to try and direct things. Or so I envision...

Bukko_in_Australia said...

And while we're at it, here's an interesting essay on the downside of the decline of old meeja. Nut quote: "Without the standard, jackass is the norm." Summed up, you get what you pay for, even with media, and when you don't pay anything, what you get is usually worth nothing.


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