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Overrated and underreported stories of 2002
December 31, 2002 11:29 AM   Subscribe

2002 media follies. The most overhyped and underreported stories of the year.
posted by homunculus (33 comments total)

 
This article seems to lean slightly to the left.
posted by waxpancake at 11:33 AM on December 31, 2002


Catholic Sex Scandals: How come we can care so much about someone who committed sex crimes in the '70s, but a documented war criminal in the '70s or '80s can completely avoid criticism for engineering mass murder, even when nominated to a high-profile national position?

Because the church is about eternity.
posted by NortonDC at 11:38 AM on December 31, 2002


A politically unbiased gem of an article based on undisputed facts with very few tones of hysteria or agenda-pushing. The resulting MeFi thread promises to be pleasant, fair, and devoid of any partisanship.
posted by dhoyt at 11:41 AM on December 31, 2002


I'm a liberal, and even I felt hoodwinked by this overtly biased list of allegations posing as a year-end recap.
posted by vraxoin at 11:42 AM on December 31, 2002


I think the funniest idea is that Patti Smith matters.
posted by NortonDC at 11:45 AM on December 31, 2002


The wacky clone cult. Totally f'd up people claiming cutting edge science.

(I can't think of a better way to promote the banning of cloning).
posted by ParisParamus at 11:49 AM on December 31, 2002


I was about to say the same thing as vraxoin. When you can almost hear the sound of liberal eyes rolling back in their heads, you know they've written something awful.

Is there a rabid right-wing version of the same list? It'd be fun to compare and contrast what the nuts on the edges of both sides think.
posted by mathowie at 11:49 AM on December 31, 2002


Argh. You'd think intelligent people with good intentions would realize that they're only undermining themselves when they write things like this.
posted by orange swan at 11:54 AM on December 31, 2002


I'd sure like to know more about this poll--who took it, who sponsored it, etc--that states that 2/3rds of Americans believe Iraq is responsible for 9/11.

100% of the Americans I know don't believe this. I guess we're just not good enough for statistical sampling, eh?
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:54 AM on December 31, 2002


I am a centrist, but I don't find this list to be the liberal dogma that everyone is saying it is. Mathowie, can you point out a part that makes you think the author is a nut, or rabid? It seems to me the author takes great pains to make cogent arguments, even when the headlines make you think he might be a typical leftist drone. For example, his argument against the "axis of evil" is not that they aren't evil, but that they aren't an axis.
posted by cell divide at 11:55 AM on December 31, 2002


disclaimer-- I only read the overhyped part, maybe the dogma comes in the second half?
posted by cell divide at 11:56 AM on December 31, 2002


cell divide:

"How come we can care so much about someone who committed sex crimes in the '70s, but a documented war criminal in the '70s or '80s can completely avoid criticism for engineering mass murder, even when nominated to a high-profile national position? That would be Mr. Kissinger. Come to think of it, it could also be any of a dozen other people in the Bush Administration. "

"The Indonesian military is responsible for massacres in Irian Jaya and Aceh provinces, plus the arming and training of Islamic fundamentalists that have been responsible for massive sectarian killings. In short, they're perfect candidates for a White House dinner. "

"A full list of the ways in which our unelected president is becoming emperor would be useful."

Even when the points he's making are legitimate, his rhetorical style ensures that no one will pay attention.
posted by nickmark at 12:07 PM on December 31, 2002


ah, right. Thanks!
posted by cell divide at 12:09 PM on December 31, 2002


no, it's pretty much all biased. if you close your eyes halfway and focus between the lines, you'll see 'Al Gore Is My President.'

And yeah, the Catholic sex scandal was over-reported. Kids were molested years ago, and some priests were still preaching 20 years later... to more and more kids (and potential abuse victims). And for the first time the church is forced to release documents that show bishops were more concerned with protecting priests than helping kids get away from abusers.

No, not that important. Clearly, Henry Kissinger *not* leading a 9-11 inquiry was more stunning.

What a dumbass.
posted by krewson at 12:11 PM on December 31, 2002


not only is it one-sided claptrap, its YABO.
[yet ANOTHER best ____ of]
YABO is everywhere in media this time of year, and we see it all over, it's inescapable. the entire sunday edition of the local newspaper was nothing but YABO, as it is year after year. we're only 2 years out from the pre-millenium YABO, the biggest YABOfest of the century. there is nothing unique about YABO, its predictable as hell. and yet, mefites persist in posting YABO.
best q of 2002!
posted by quonsar at 12:13 PM on December 31, 2002


Some people would call me a liberal. I'd tell them that they were wrong. I like to eat meat, I own guns, I'm into getting paid, and hell, I live in Texas. Whatever it is that most people think being a "liberal" entails, I think that's a load of pinko crap.

That being said, I think this list is pretty dead on. Crazy things are happening in our crazy world, and it's difficult to talk about them without sounding crazy yourself. How can you point to where we're headed, without sounding like a nutjob?

I won't talk about specific points here just yet, so's not to derail further, but how do you talk about an extreme situation, without sounding like an extremist?
posted by majcher at 12:27 PM on December 31, 2002


macjcher:
see nickmark's comments above. it's all about not phrasing things as though you're holding a mirror to the fox news channel's style guide.
posted by krewson at 12:28 PM on December 31, 2002


I confess my sin: part of my motive in posting this was trollish; I thought some of the reactions to the lefty tone might be funny. I've been bad. But despite the tone, I did agree with some of his choices, so I thought it could be worthy of discussion. If there is a right-wing version of this kind of list, I'd enjoy checking it out too.

My vote for most underreported story would be Senator Graham's recent revelation of classified evidence that at least one foreign country assisted the 9/11 terrorists.
posted by homunculus at 12:28 PM on December 31, 2002


Is there a rabid right-wing version of the same list? It'd be fun to compare and contrast what the nuts on the edges of both sides think.

Not exactly as out there as the link that was posted here, but Bernard Goldberg's book Bias is a rant on topics allegedly over- and under-exposed by what he considers a liberal biased media empire.
posted by PrinceValium at 12:37 PM on December 31, 2002


The guy forgot Chechnya. Except for the few days of that hostage crisis, the conflict seems completely off the map.
posted by bobo123 at 12:38 PM on December 31, 2002


krewson: I agree that ranting like a conspiracy theorist or something about "Emperor Bush" and the like will get you nowhere. However, the sad truth is that more people watch FOX news than read The Economist. Talking calmly and rationally about how the country is rapidly sliding into the shitter, using proper grammar and avoiding hyperbole, may make us feel slightly better, but it's not going to change anything.

I suppose my question is better phrased as: If you're shocked and horrified at the State of Things, how do you talk effectively about it in a public forum, without sounding like a lunatic? Sometimes, I almost think that ranting like a looney may be the most reasonable thing to do...
posted by majcher at 12:43 PM on December 31, 2002


Kidnapped Children: So often the story started with "little Suzy disappeared yesterday..." and ended with "Suzy was found early this morning. She had wandered away from her backyard to visit the neighbors..." It was pointless, horrible, and pandered to parents' worst fears.

I'll agree that with today's media, we do know way too much info far from our home regions at one given time.

But this past summer there were two major missing girls stories. One was two girls missing from Oregon . The second one was the two girls from the UK. The ratio of missing to stories on them equals two to one though.

I don't mind the Amber-Alert even though there were a couple of false calls. As, if you ever witnessed the panic a parent goes through when their child is lost makes it ok with me.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:43 PM on December 31, 2002


> How come we can care so much about someone who
> committed sex crimes in the '70s, but a documented war
> criminal in the '70s or '80s can completely avoid criticism for
> engineering mass murder, even when nominated to a
> high-profile national position? That would be Mr. Kissinger.

Kissinger completely avoided criticism? What alternate reality are these folks from?
posted by jfuller at 1:00 PM on December 31, 2002


For all the coverage about how America loves George W Bush via polls, it's interesting that this poll has got very little coverage.

Oh, CNN tried, but they spun it like crazy. It's nowhere to be found on TIME's site, at all. Interesting...and not a huge story as far as 2002 goes, but the kid glove approach to all things Bush continues.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 1:25 PM on December 31, 2002


If you're shocked and horrified at the State of Things, how do you talk effectively about it in a public forum, without sounding like a lunatic?

However, the sad truth is that more people watch FOX news than read The Economist.


1) Remember not to use dismissive language about people whose opinions happen to vary from yours.

2) Be careful of your examples. Remember the cover of the Economist at the height of the Clinton scandals with the phrase Just Go and a picture of him with his back turned? I thought it did far more to undermine his presidency than any of the ranting on the Fox channel could ever do.
posted by haqspan at 1:56 PM on December 31, 2002


Common Cause list is enough to make a smart liberal wonder what the hell he is associated with. I did not know CC was still around. Why?
posted by Postroad at 2:07 PM on December 31, 2002


I haven't actually seen any real discussion of the actual points of Mr. Parrish's "list" on this thread. In other words, the discussion has descended to his level: that of a shoddy rant. This is too bad, because many of the items on his sloppy "list" are quite legitimate points (backed up by massive amounts of data, not that one would guess it from Parrish's writing).

Unfortunately, Parrish's preaching to the converted amounts to a useless, smelly discharge due to the fact that, while he spouts overheated buzzwords and rhetoric, he provides no substantiating evidence (or links to evidence) for his claims: so the "list" amounts to merely a badly written op-ed piece. What a shame, for it could have been so much more.
posted by troutfishing at 2:51 PM on December 31, 2002


I would have placed "Kidnapping Kids" at the top of the overhyped list -- assuming I'm not just hallucinating that there's an implicit order to it.
As for the the underhyped list, fifteen Mefites chosen at random could probably put a more interesting version together. Keep Colombia, Kyoto, Privatizing Water, and go from there. And yeah, add Chechnya.
posted by tingley at 3:00 PM on December 31, 2002


Kissinger completely avoided criticism? What alternate reality are these folks from?
they have only recently emerged from the womb. those with some mileage have been criticizing henry since dicky nixon was his boss.
posted by quonsar at 3:42 PM on December 31, 2002


Is there a rabid right-wing version of the same list? it'd be fun to compare and contrast what the nuts the edges of both sides think.

I'm not certain that a rabid right wing column would have much to report on...
posted by Quixoticlife at 3:46 PM on December 31, 2002


As a centrist (I voted for a Democrat for Governor this year, though I think McCain was the best candidate in the last election), here's what a true overhyped/underhyped list should be:

Overhyped:
Bush and Blair's "Warmongering": Despite hundreds of thousands protesting, especially in Europe and US college towns, Bush and Blair went through the UN to get a mandate to pressure Iraq. Despite all the calls of warmongering, Iraq has yet to be invaded. Still, Iraq continues to violate no-fly zones set up to protect minority populations in his North and South.

Terrorist Threats: The author is right on this one. Dirty Bombs, Smallpox and Yellow Alerts mean nothing. If the government knows of a *specific* threat, then blast it for everyone to here. Else, stop inciting fear in the old folks.

Short-Term Environmental Threats: Op-Eds blaming the European floods on global warming? The Mexican GE Corn Lie (it turns out the crop wasn't ruined in the town by GE after all)? Of course you saw it in 2002. When's the last time a global warming is given credit for a bountiful crop in Canada? Never. That's because environmental problems are long-term; it's almost impossible to blame a single event on an environmental change.

Underhyped:
North Korea's Nuclear Programme: Though this story is only now breaking, there has been little debate of the US's role in Asia and in the divide among the South Korean people as to what to do with the North.

Money Can't Win Elections:
In many areas, from Texas to New York, candidates who spent a huge amount of money were shut out by candidates spending far less. And I even agree with some of the big-money losers, such as Golisiano.

Iran's Secularisation: Iranian students demostrate to free a teacher, dislike the authoritarians.

Pakistan/India: The Cold War is over, but severe threats remain. Any time there's a chance a nuke will be used, it should be on the front page.

EU Expansion: The introduction of the Euro and a growing Europe is the as world-changing as the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Indian Violence: Thousands killed in riots and train bombings and congressional shootings on both sides - Hindu and Moslem. Yet nary a word from most media sources.

US work in the Doha Round - O'Niell proposes a revolution in world tariffs, offering to lower US tariffs to 0 by 2015 if other advanced nations do the same, while letting developing nations keep some tariffs. Only the Financial Times says a word.
posted by Kevs at 5:40 PM on December 31, 2002


To tame globalization's society-devouring drive for efficiency, we need a global New Deal for equity. The machinery is in place: the World Trade Organization can end capital's race to the bottom by raising the bottom. A global minimum wage, a global right to organize unions, and global health and safety regulations in the workplace can make globalization work for all.


On the Brink--The need for fundamental changes in politics and policy—and fast
by Jack Beatty
The Atlantic, October, 2002

underreported - Global Minimum Wage, Global Maximum Wage
posted by y2karl at 8:48 PM on December 31, 2002


The Media Research Center's 2002 list is a decent mirror to this, in which any slight against GWB is bias! bias! bias!
posted by owillis at 9:00 PM on December 31, 2002


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