A Port List

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Top Ten Poorly-Covered Stories for the Year

Via Michelle Malkin is a pointer to this story which lists (and elaborates upon) the top ten news stories from the past year that should have been better covered by major media. Here is a list of the stories themselves. For more, see the article.

1. America's vulnerability to nuclear terrorism.

2. Sandy Berger's pilfering of classified documents in an apparent attempt to sanitize President Clinton's legacy.

3. The U.S. border as a conduit for terrorists.

4. The validity of the Swiftboat vets' charges against Sen. John Kerry

5. America's out-of-control judiciary.

6. Uncontrolled immigration.

7. The Philadelphia 5.

8. The U.N. oil-for-food scandal.

9. Genocide in Darfur.

10. Saddam links with al-Qaida.

On item (4), there is an excellent story by Thomas Sowell, one of my favorite columnists, over at Capitalism Magazine that is worth a full read. I like how they summarized the article, because the capsule simultaneously punctures two myths: (1) that there is no such thing as objectivity because "everyone is biased" and (2) that one is disqualified from having an opinion (even when up-front about it) when reporting news. When you put these two together, you can see their real intent: to give liberals an excuse to give biased coverage (or none at all, depending), while pretending that (1) liberalism is not an ideology, and (2) that they're reporting the news.

The recent resignation of CNN's news director, Eason Jordan, after his outrageous remarks about our military at an international forum were reported on the Internet, is only the latest in a series of media scandals, of which Dan Rather's forged documents were just one. Media bias does not consist in having liberal or conservative opinions but in how you do your job -- or don't do it [italics mine].

Case in point: as I once mentioned, Ayn Rand held two Christian publications in different regards. National Review she disliked because it pretended to be a secular publication. On the other hand, she respected Christian Science Monitor because they were up front about where they stood on matters of religion.

There Should be Such a List for the Last Half-Century: Nominations Welcome!

But here's an idea: how 'bout a top ten list of stories poorly covered for the past half-century? One that definitely belongs there is the escalation in gasoline prices. There are two parts to this sad tale. (1) On the foreign policy front is our appeasement of Middle Eastern governments who nationalized oil fields belonging to petrochemical firms. (2) On the domestic front is the unreported role of environmentalism, covered very well in this article at Capitalism Magazine. Nothing in the article surprises me, but I've never seen this part of the story presented so well, and all in one place to boot. Point it out to at least one other person today if you'd like to pay less for gas before the end of the war.

On second thought, these two should really fall under separate items on such a list, and the appeasement story would certainly make it there alone. A more generic "how environmentalism has damaged the world economy" would probably subsume item (2) above. (For another example, see the Kyoto Countup, via Secular Foxhole.) Another that deserves to be on the list is the genocide of mosquito bite victims brought about by the banning of DDT. Kinda makes the genocide in Darfur look like chickenfeed when you consider that "[s]ixty million people have died needlessly of malaria, since the imposition of the 1972 ban on DDT." This ranks right up there with the government-imposed starvations of early Soviet Russia!

That's three biggies so far. Suggestions for more are welcome. Remember: BIG story with small or nonexistent media coverage.

Words of Wisdom

And then, via RealClear Politics, is a piece , again by Thomas Sowell. Sowell occasionally will put out a column called "Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene." These are always good, but this one is particularly so. Here is a sampler.

On raising taxes to "save" social "security":

Raising Social Security taxes today will not leave a dime more to pay pensions to future retirees. Right now there is more money coming into the system than is going out -- and the difference gets spent on other things. Higher taxes now would mean a bigger excess to be spent on other things, leaving nothing more for the future.

On price controls and drugs:

Time and again, over the centuries, price controls have produced three things: shortages, quality deterioration and black markets. Why would anyone want any of those things with pharmaceutical drugs?

On eminent domain:

What "eminent domain" laws mean in practice is that politicians have a right to seize your property and turn it over to someone else, in order to gain campaign contributions and win votes.

(Follow the link on eminent domain. It's hair-raising. Capitalism Magazine had some great stuff up today.) Here's a quote that touches on a theme I think more people would do well to understand better: Some great political ideals simply do not apply to the realm of morality.

Everyone is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty -- in a court of law. But we cannot just mindlessly repeat words outside the context in which they apply. If you discovered that your spouse had been secretly checking into motels with someone else, would you presume innocence until proven guilty?

Read the whole thing. It's all good.

-- CAV


4-17-05: Corrected a reference to a blog.

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