Tuesday before the flood

This is Spring Break for the University of Hawaii. Meda’s locked out of her office, since the campus is closed. So my schedule gets the trickle-down disruption.

The National Weather Service is warning of “intense rain” is possible this evening, although it has been quite a beautiful morning.

We’ll see.

Just a few items worth noting here.

There’s a good piece by Greg Mitchell recounting the news media’s failures in the run-up to the Iraq war. The column was intended for publication in the Washington Post, but was killed by the newspaper which instead ran a replacement taking the “no problems here” view of the same media performance.

Mitchell, former editor of Editor & Publisher, has now released the unpublished column (“That Piece Killed by the ‘Post’“), and also blogged about the issue (“Double failure“). Both make for good reading.

The regular morning email blast from Pacific Business News included a rather unsettling story, “North Korea said to be targeting bases in Hawaii“. Mainstream news coverage probably rightly highlights the paranoia of North Korea’s new leadership.

So that’s why I was surprised by these other reports that U.S. B-52s are flying mock nuclear bombing runs in the area.

Agence France-Presse reported last week:

The Pentagon says at least one B-52 has flown over South Korea in recent weeks as part of joint South Korea-US military exercises that Pyongyang has denounced as rehearsals for invasion.

“It is an unpardonable provocation,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“The US is introducing a strategic nuclear strike means to the Korean peninsula at a time when its situation is inching close to the brink of war,” the spokesman said.

Great. There’s a paranoid guy with power and we’re responding to the paranoia by making threatening gestures.

Meanwhile, Politico featured Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono earlier this month among what it called the “Talk To My Press Secretary Caucus” (see, “Silent Senators“).

For a growing group of Republicans and Democrats — some of them veterans, others newer to Washington — questions are not welcome from the national press who patrol the hallways of the Capitol. Answering is just not worth it.

That is — not worth the headaches and headlines, even for something as small as a blog post, of a fumbled quote or inartfully turned phrase. Not worth, several lawmakers and their press aides suggested, a possible “gotcha moment.”

Finally, a short essay on the state of the news from one former reporter’s vantage point (“Why I left news“).

I don’t think the Internet killed newspapers. Newspapers killed newspapers.

People like to say that print media didn’t adapt to online demand, but that’s only part of it. The corporate folks who manage newspapers tried to comply with the whims of a thankless audience with a microscopic attention span. And newspaper staffers tried to comply with the demands of a thankless establishment that often didn’t even read their work. Everyone lost.

3 responses to “Tuesday before the flood

  1. What do I miss?

    UH Regents last week said they are looking for efficiency and productivity. Then they lock profs out of their own office with access to their documents and internet access. Talk of speaking from both sides of a confused mouth.

  2. North Korean “paranoia” would seem to postdate America’s “threatening gestures.” As such, their fears would not be paranoia.

  3. Evidently what you missed, Hugh, is that a lot of media, TV, Newspapers, and Magazines are owned by individuals or corporations that profit from war, so important questions such as possible WMD in Iraq and now Iran, are never challenged. America’s provocative actions toward other countries are never challenged by mainstream media. But thanks to the Internet, that has changed. Programs such as Democracy Now provide vital critical thinking via critical reporting. The local TV news report on North Korea missile failed to report America’s actions, provoking a possible different reaction. That is totally unacceptable a Democracy! There are many Koreans living here who possibly would like to see peace , harmony, and unification instead of two Koreans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.