Thursday, September 16, 2004

Yeah, what he says...

I figured if I looked hard enough I could find someone saying what I was thinking. I did, thanks to Daniel Drezner.

"But let me see if I understand things correctly. A presidential election is less than two months away, and there is a war going on right now in Iraq. The war in Iraq raises profound questions about United States policy with regard to the Muslim world for decades to come. But instead of debating the war that is going on right now, we're debating the war records of the two candidates from more than three decades ago. Wait, no, that's too direct: we're debating one network's story about one candidate's
war record from three decades ago. Wait, maybe that's too direct, too: we're debating the fonts on different typewriters that may or may not have been used to write a memo that led to a story about one candidate's war record from three decades ago. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

C'mon, folks: don't we have more important things to blog about?"

In the big picture we all can get caught up in minutiae and forget about what really matters. I remain cynical about both of the main candidates, and my cynicism about news reporting isn't getting any better. My awareness of the Beslan tragedy preceded that of the public by about three days, thanks to NPR and the internet. Now that hurricanes and typewriters have taken the attention of the seething masses, I find myself once again in a minority, still contemplating the importance of what happened in Russia and wondering if that event, being tagged as Russia's 9/11, will have the same effect on their politics as the WTC tragedy had on ours. If so, the drift toward further polarization of the electorate and the attendant threats to civil liberties does not make me have a happy outlook.

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