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Friday, December 30, 2005

Counterpoint: The Year in Good News

Updated at 12:45pm 12/30/05.....
I just finished reading David Ignatius' 2005 year in review column, "The Year in Bad News", I feel sorry for David, pessimism has taken him over it seems. I know a little about pessimism, because I teach it for a living. We teach students to make fishbone diagrams that go from the mostly likely bad thing to the worst case scenario, nothing good on it. It seems David, by the tone of his column, would fit in with that group.

So here are some counterpoints to his "Bad News" year.

1) Iraqi Elections and Government. While David sees it as a corrupt, Mafia like cabal, I see a growth in a nation that hasn't had true governance in decades. Much like Eastern Europe shortly after the wall fell, there will be problems, it's a matter of how they deal with it.

2) The US Government. Poor David longs for a parliamentary system, because then GWB would have been gone. I'm glad we don't have one, not necessarily because I want Bush to stay around, or think he's doing great. No, it's because I remember what Italy was like in the 1980's when they switched governments more than most folks do socks. I'll take a stable, slightly dysfunctional government over an unstable, dysfunctional government every day of the week.

3) Russia and China. I'll have to agree with most of what he wrote on them. Russia is especially worrying to me because Putin seems to be putting them back on the road to dictatorship, in a sneaky kind of way.

4) Big Media. I got a laugh out of reading his obituary (that is what he wrote, he just doesn't know it). Declining readers of newspapers, declining viewers on network news, and much like Kathleen Parker a few days ago, it's the "new media" that is to blame, with it's "feeding on popular anger at the Mainstream Media and its claims of impartiality". He does hit them on some of their own problems, but makes a mistake in his closing:

Maybe the lesson of 2005 was the same for the media as for the
politicians: Hang on tight to your values, and don't be afraid to let that
passion animate your work; be careful about making promises you can't or
shouldn't keep; and don't try to please everyone, or you may end up pleasing
nobody at all.

Especially in the media, letting passion override the desire for truth is what's killing them. Mary Mapes and Dan Rather proved that point pretty well for us.

The same can be said for politicians, he notes in his wish for a parlimentary government that a new government would be formed by the GOP if Bush were ousted because the Democrats are so disjointed. The reason behind that is they too have let passion, their passion to see Bush fail, drive their actions.

Here's a few more good news things for David to ponder.

5) The Economy. Contrary to popular belief, it still hasn't tanked. High energy prices, a big trade deficit, and the dollar is getting stronger, not weaker overseas, unlike the view we keep hearing of the "should happens". Unemployment is also very low historically, and probably better poised than the 1990's tech boom to stay that way.

6) Safety. Whether he likes it or not, we haven't been hit by another terrorist attack in over 4 years. Yes there are some issues with the way the government is keeping us safe, and I'm sure we'll have a debate on it in '06, but we are generally safer than we were a few years back.

7) New Media. The old media doesn't much like bloggers and the internet media, because we are much harder to pin down. But the truth is this outlet is doing some good, by balancing media, both right and left, on a lot of issue. There is some bad to it, also, in that some folks in this venue are just as guilty of bias and ignoring both sides of the issue. The difference is that most of the folks in the internet media admit it.

So I'm going to go to work today, and write a new lesson, teaching students to be as pessimistic as possible about what they face in a war, but leave the office and be optimistic about what I face in the coming year.

Update, one other thing to be happy about, I'm not the guy in this story (which I mentioned in October), who became the most clicked on article at the Seattle Times, and possibly their most read EVER! People need to get a life if this is what they want for 'news'.

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Blogger Greta (Hooah Wife) said...


9:32 AM  
Blogger Guinevere Meadow said...

Hi! Just wanted to thank you for visiting my new blog and commenting. I will certainly be back here for more!

12:24 PM  
Blogger W.C. Varones said...

Kathleen Parker is better known as the woman who took a bold and controversial stand against child molestation in her column, "Adult - child relationships are wrong -- always."

12:59 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Greta, thanks.

Guinevere, I'll be back, too.

W.C. - that is nearly as controversial a the thing I read the other day that said "Water=Wet, Always!"

4:22 PM  

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