Washington Post Headlines for the Intellectually Challenged

Checking
In with the Washington Post, as I always do in the morning. The first
two of today’s headlines on the online version were so asinine, I read
them to my wife to see if there was something I had missed:

Checking
In with the Washington Post, as I always do in the morning. The first
two of today’s headlines on the online version were so asinine, I read
them to my wife to see if there was something I had missed:

Iraq at Risk of Further Strife, Report Warns. Well,
I must say that it’s a relief to me to know that my national newspaper
is right up there on the cutting edge of events as they reveal
themselves. Scrolling down the page, the Post’s second headline grabbed
me:

Humans Blamed for Warming. It’s
almost too much to conceive in one day, that not only is Iraq at risk
of having things continue as they have (pretty much continually over
the past three and a half years of American occupation), but actual
humans have been identified as the culprit in the weather debate. Here
I thought it was all those farting cows that were blamed a couple years
back.

One step at a time. Taking the Iraq piece first, the opening paragraph states that

A
new National Intelligence Estimate depicts an Iraq involved in a
multi-faceted struggle among religious groups and sects and says that
without a sharp reversal in the violence and changes among the Shiite,
Sunni and Kurd leadership, the situation could further deteriorate.

Cheneyiraq_5
and unless you just arrived from outer-space, that would hardly rate as a new
intelligence estimate. Hard to tell about intelligence these days
though. Seems like the old tried and true definitions of what is or
isn’t intelligence just don’t work anymore. But I’ll bet the Oval
Office was smokin’ when this news hit the presidential desk.

“Dick,
what the hell is this about multi-faceted struggles? You promised me
there were gonna be sharp reversals and now Negroponte slips this under
the door on his way out.”

“Don’t worry, Mr. President. Just a blip. Temporary stuff. These guys are in their last throes.”

Bushnegroponte_1
The piece blathers on and on, as if it were news, as if it belonged on the front page of a once-great newspaper, winding up with

On Tuesday, Negroponte referred to the NIE in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Iraq is at a precarious juncture. That means the situation could deteriorate, but there are prospects for increasing stability” that depend on the commitment of Iraqi government and political leaders to take steps to end Sunni-Shiite violence and “the willingness of Iraqi security forces to pursue extremist elements of all kinds,” he said.

It’ll be better over at the State Department, John. There’s no policy at State—the whole show is operated on the fly.

Next on
down the front page, the Post thrusts in their long-suffering readers’
faces the stunning and heretofore unreported news that we
industrial-agers are responsible for the planetary hot-flashes. In an
opening paragraph, Juliet Eilperin reports

There
is no longer any reasonable doubt that human activities are warming the
planet at a dangerous rate, according to a new worldwide assessment of
climate science released today by the authoritative Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change.

Be still, my heart. Humans? Us? It’s our fault? Omigod!

Bush
administration officials said today they welcomed the report, and
emphasized that U.S. funding for climate research helped underpin its
conclusions.

“Without
the great work of our scientists, the advances in knowledge of our
planet’s climate that were documented in today’s IPCC report would not
have been possible,”
said Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez.

The
report suggests that it is “very likely” that hot days, heat waves and
heavy precipitation will become more frequent in the years to come, and
it is “likely” future tropical hurricanes and typhoons will become more
intense. Arctic sea ice will disappear “almost entirely” by the end of
the century, it says, while snow cover will contract worldwide.

So, don’t think we’re not making progress. It’s taken a mere six years to make the broken-field run from the 70 yard line of likely to the 75 yard line of very likely. Disastrously likely
can’t be more than another thirty to forty years. By then no one will
need worry about Chesapeake Bay cleanup and all the costs associated
with that. The Bay will have flushed itself across most of Maryland and
Virginia.

Newspapers
do their readers and their country no favors when they continue the
reportage of old (and irresponsibly damaging) news as if it were a
measure of progress. The nation goes to sleep under such reportage.

It should be—and some would say used to be—the purpose and responsibility of newspapers to not allow the
country to go to sleep. The dulling-down of the news media supports and
encourages the dumbing-down of America. We have mercilessly
conglomerized the reporting of news and made of it the handmaiden of
entertainment. There is money in entertainment. There’s only honor and history and salvation in the honest and timely reporting of news.

Obviously, the Washington Post is opting for money and entertainment.
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