Tuesday, August 22, 2006

MSM Update: Gossip Central Strains Its Psyche

It's news time, gang. What's big media got for us today?

Well, as of Monday evening, the big story at the Times was the Yankees' sweep of the Red Sox (my city's mercenary millionaires are better than your city's).

In various other outlets, the Ramsey case was still the hot item (shouldn't this be in section C29 or something, between the police blotter and the classifieds?).

CBS was bravely reporting that Bush thinks the Iraq war is a strain on America's psyche (and this guy would know, being a bit of a psycho himself).

USA Today has a poll that claims an upsurge in approval ratings for Bush & Co., over the 40% bar. Heckuva job, Dubya—you might just make it to midfield by the time your term's up.

So once again, the American MSM is being its sweet, superficial self. Let's look across the pond and see what's up at BBC, where a quaint old thing called journalism is still actively practiced (ah, there's Old Europe for you).

As you'd expect, their lead story was the terror indictments in England, along with the Iranian refusal to halt its nuclear programs, the train wrecks in Egypt and Spain, and the rescue of a group of diplomats in Congo (yes, a front page story from Africa, and they followed it up this morning with this). Also on the front page at BBC, I found this (I made up the headline):

Take your rice (not Condi) and shove it: Japan is saying no to America's GM rice, and the EU is mulling a suspension of imports. Try and find this story anywhere in the MSM over here. But the revealing part of this story is to be found in the Bushies' Agri cabinet chief's riposte to the Japanese action:

In a statement, US agriculture secretary Mike Johanns said: "There are no human health, food safety, or environmental concerns associated with this (genetically engineered) rice."

As with all other Bush administration claims, no evidence was offered to support the statement; and as with our government's occupation of foreign lands, no account was taken of one simple fact: they don't want our garbage, no matter how good or benign your Rovespeaker says it is.

Next comes a science story that you would have a tough time finding in our media (let alone finding someone who could explain what it means).

Solid evidence for the existence of dark matter: This is much bigger news than the story reported in the American MSM last week about the naming of planets. What this tells us is that an entity that has long been nothing more than a hypothetical construct used to explain certain features of Einstein's theories of relativity and some aspects of quantum astrophysics may now be considered empirically supported.

But scientists like to establish truth through the testing and expansion process of repetition (this is in contrast to the way repetition is used by politicians and ideologues, as a way of enforcing popular belief in lies). So the findings of the Chandra Observatory scientists will have to be reviewed and reprised by others before it is established that dark matter is indeed a fundamental ingredient of the cosmos.

Scientists can also be very frustrating to gossip hounds such as we have in the American mass political media. How dare they retreat from self-promotion and vain display, these genius geeks? Yet once again (still at BBC), we read that mathematician Grigori Perelma has spurned an important prize for his solution to one of the more vexing technical problems in his field. How this guy dares imagine that he'll ever accomplish anything without being on Good Morning America is totally beyond me.

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