Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Like Herr Professor Doctor Attaturk, I occasionally pause to take reader's questions.

Q. Why doesn't the media report the good news from Iraq?

A. They do! I've been following the news closely since the invasion and I can tell you that every school in Iraq has been painted at least twice. What's more, we're winning! Donald Rumsfeld said that were about 5,000 insurgents in Iraq in early 2004. Adding up the numbers from reports in the New York Times, we have now killed or captured at least 20,000 of them. That means there are only -15,000 left. No wonder they're desperate.

Q. When will the spendthrift, liberal Democratic Congress start acting responsibly and do something about these massive, unsustainable federal budget deficits? Oh, wait a minute, ahhh . . . Never mind.

Q. Where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction™?

A. We know where they are. They're in Kirtland AFB, New Mexico; King's Bay Naval Base, Georgia; Bangor, Washington; in and around Grand Forks and Minot, North Dakota; Nellis AFB, Nevada; and in Wyoming, Texas, California, Louisiana, Montana, Virginia, South Dakota, Colorado, and at U.S. bases in Germany and the United Kingdom. check it out

Q. My daughter, in college, wants to be a reporter. What advice would you give her?

A. Reporters nowadays need a few skills that it can be difficult for young people to learn. But if she can develop them early, she'll have a head start in the profession.

  • First, and most important, she must completely eliminate the habit -- indeed the faculty -- of critical thinking. She must train herself not to compare the pronouncements of government spokespersons, or her sources in government, with reality, or to test them for internal consistency and logic. That's the worst sin a reporter can commit, it's a violation of balance and fairness.
  • Second, she must commit to the five noble priorities: Sex, Celebrity, Fear, Power, and Cruelty. These determine the importance of news stories, and their placement in the broadcast or newspaper.
  • And finally, she must remember to always, always, follow the herd.

If she can internalize these principles -- live them, inhabit them so fully that she no longer even perceives that she is ruled by them -- she can rise to the heights of Washington dinner party society.

Well, that's all I have time for today. I'm off to DC for the rest of the week, to a grantees' meeting. (Yep, it is the hand that feeds me that I bite.) I may not have access to your internets till Saturday, so don't miss me too badly.

No comments: