Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

December 29, 2004

Irresponsible Journalism?

Filed under: Media — Bunker @ 10:45 am

I’ve not yet looked at Hugh Hewitt’s new book, but intend to read it as soon as I can. But I heard something on NPR yesterday that brought the differences between blogs and MSM to light a bit more. Bill O’Reilly made a comment about the internet being a vehicle for destroying someone with a “simple click of the mouse”, in spite of seeing that happen in MSM with far greater regularity. And I cannot even think of a time where the internet destroyed anyone. Paris Hilton?

The NPR report highlighted the destruction of beef exports to Japan, and the hope that the Japanese ban would be lifted this week. It wasn’t. Because it wasn’t, at least one meat packer has had to lay off most of its employees. I have no idea how many others have already done so in the last year.

Before the ban, Japan was the biggest overseas buyer of U.S. beef, importing $1.7 billion of the meat in 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The ban began when a single cow was presumed to have Mad Cow Disease (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy). Japan and several other Asian countries cut off imports of beef from the US almost immediately. The fear was unfounded for many reasons:

BSE is spread only by the consumption of infected feed and is not transmitted from cow to cow.

So much for importing live animals. But what about the meat itself?

“One important thing to remember is that muscle cuts of meat have almost no risk,” Veneman said, emphasizing that the disease is typically spread by consumption of brain or nerve tissue, which did not enter the food system. “I know of no science to show that you can transmit BSE from muscle cuts of meat.”

Okay, so where is the link to Hugh’s book, and O’Reilly’s comments?

MSM did what they could to destroy the beef industry. Well, maybe not intentionally. But they built a story where there really wasn’t one. Yes, BSE being detected was something that needed to be covered. But the fact that it was immediately detected, and no other cases identitifed, should have been a signal that the safeguards in place worked. Instead, there was regular coverage of the potential epidemic, with little or no coverage of the science at work that makes the disease a non-factor for humans. Where was the coverage that explained why? Are MSM in business to provide information or simply build and destroy reputations–those of others and themselves?

We often talk about how MSM cover politics, but the recent tsunami coverage and this BSE issue show that their worldview is certainly far different than the one most of us have. They are quick to say Bush caused a turndown in the economy, but will they ever look into a mirror and ask themselves about personal culpability?

December 28, 2004

America in the World

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 9:14 am

Sarah always seems to locate interesting tidbits around the net. This morning she found a feel-good story about the US in MSM–well, Washington Times, no shill for the left.

Lorne Craner, president of the International Republican Institute, served as the State Department’s human rights chief for most of President Bush’s first term.

“I was obviously concerned that issues like Abu Ghraib could hurt our standing and our ability to support our values abroad,” says Mr. Craner, whose tenure was marked by international criticism of U.S. actions on everything from the Kyoto global-warming pact to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.

“But I found that the American experience and American ideals still were very powerful almost everywhere I went,” Mr. Craner says. “People realized we are not perfect, but it did not undermine our credibility.”

The article continues to compare our strengths, both hard and soft power. But I think that quote above hits on something that is misperceived by many: “People realized we are not perfect, but it did not undermine our credibility.” The issue in mind mind is Why?

Because we are far more open than any other society on Earth? Perhaps the fact that we have a First Amendment, one that prevents the government from restricting our ability to criticize it, keeps us honest. Today, Thomas Paine would have a blog. We can see, daily, that we as a nation are not perfect, but we do what we can to try and achieve perfection. Yet we know that isn’t possible–well, most of us. There are still some on the far left who dream of Utopia. It reminds me of my flight line job. Every day I went to work with the desire to have every flight launch on time and every aircraft to be fully mission capable. Perfection. Yet I knew that would happen on only the rarest of occasions. But that was the goal.

Our credibility lies in the fact that we don’t pretend to be perfect. Think for a minute about those who cause the most problems in today’s world. Islamicists come first to mind. They view their culture as the one perfect way. We understand our weaknesses, far better than we sometimes realize. We’ve grown accustomed to them even as we strive to overcome them. When we look at something like Abu Ghraib, we are appalled. Nobody else in the world is, although many feigned disgust.

We are accused of imposing our own values on Iraq. Okay, what values do you mean? We have many, only one of which is a representative government. We certainly want the government in Iraq to be friendly, or at least not antagonistic. That is in our interest. Beyond that, however, we have only the expectation that Iraq will have a representative government in some form. And that is for the benefit of the Iraqi people who will, for the first time, govern themselves.

It reminds me of Churchill’s comment: “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”

I Read

Filed under: General — Bunker @ 7:16 am

So, I thought perhaps I could earn a few Amazon gift certificates to help pay for my bibliophile nature. I’m not interested in making money off this web site, but instead of a listing for my current reading list, I’ve added the Amazon links in my left column. I’ll keep it updated as to what I’m reading (as if anyone really cared) and if something I’m reading interests you, click on the appropriate link to go straight to that item at Amazon.

What do I get for that? A pittance, redeemable in credit toward my purchases at Amazon. And, Uncle Sugar will get his cut. Just doing my part to stimulate the economy and keep the government operating!

U.N. official slams U.S. as ‘stingy’ over aid

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 5:54 am

For anyone who still believes the UN is a valuable organization, I offer you this from the Washington Times:

But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being “stingy” with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.

$15 million just isn’t enough.

Besides the United States, the largest single national donor was neighboring Australia, which offered $10 million and transportation aid.

And what are other nations donating?

Offers of aid have poured in from around the world in the past two days, with the European Union’s executive arm releasing $4 million in emergency aid and pledging an additional $27 million. Canada and several European nations — including Spain, Germany, Ireland and Belgium — each pledged about $1 million yesterday.

That means the EU says they might possibly send as much as $31 million… will we ever know if they did?

December 27, 2004

A Local Blog

Filed under: General — Bunker @ 1:30 pm

This is what I was talking about–why I keep comments open in spite of spammers. A new blog, local to Corpus Christi. Michael has a site with a definite personal design–no prepackaging for him. He lives in “The Bluff”, which is where Lago escaped from on Thanksgiving!

December 26, 2004


Filed under: General — Bunker @ 5:16 pm

Dave Barry gets it right:

A DOG IS ALWAYS READY. It doesn’t matter for what: Dogs are just “ready.”

I love dogs.

Eye Shock?

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 5:06 pm

Just had to do it in honor of the election in Ukraine!

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