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The Most Overrated Stories of 2002

 
 
PDiddie
 
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 08:31 pm
Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: Nobody -- except the Bush Administration and Tony Blair -- believes they exist. Seldom have so many words been wasted on weapons that, if they did exist, would be few in number, poorly made, and impossible to deliver more than a couple hundred miles. Instead, Bush's obsession becomes our obsession. Worse, constant repetition of "Iraq = Saddam = Terrorist" has successfully shifted post-9/11 focus -- and blame -- away from the very real threat posed by Islamic terrorists, most of whom seem to come from countries we consider allies.

Axis of Evil: *News Flash* Iraq, Iran, and North Korea are three different countries. Iraq's and Iran's governments loathe each other, and neither has any connection with North Korea. They are radically different in politics, history, religion, and culture, linked only by the rhetorical flourishes of George Bush's marketers -- er, speechwriters. Apparently that's enough.

The Economic Recovery: It's coming, remember? And coming, and coming. It's just around the corner. Who'd have guessed this funhouse had so damned many corners?

Catholic Sex Scandals: Yes, they were horrific crimes. But media coverage routinely failed to distinguish between the recent priestly crimes and coverups and the ones that happened two or three decades ago. 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 Henry Kissinger. Come to think of it, it could also be any of a dozen other people in the Bush Administration.

Code Yellow: Or amber, or chartreuse, or whatever other attempt to transform routine risk into public fear Bush's administration trotted out this week. As warnings, they're pointless; nobody pays attention. But as attempts to make the White House look good and prop up its other policies, they work like a charm.

The Smallpox Threat: The chances of a terrorist group getting its hands on smallpox and being able to effectively store, transport, and disperse it in a biological attack are vanishingly small. Even the suicidal smallpox terrorist who coughs on folks at the shopping mall would infect maybe one or two people before he died (and their chances of surviving are pretty good). We have better drugs and better sanitation nowadays. But media loves a scare tactic and they've seized on this one. Vaccine manufacturers love it, too.

Dirty Bombs: As if smallpox wasn't a big enough scare, the Bush administration and US media want you to forget about arsenic in your water and nuclear waste being trucked through your town on its way to Yucca Mountain. Instead, we're supposed to worry about dirty nukes that don't exist.

More here:


Most Overrated/Most Underreported Stories of the Year
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,607 • Replies: 12
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 10:36 pm
PDiddie you have the uncanny knack of saying just what I'm thinking but don't have time to chase down links and other forms of argument to bolster my position. I truly appreciate what you are doing here.
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 10:39 pm
Chandra Levy and the Congressman
The D.C. Sniper

I am so sick and tired of hearing WMD talk. I was tired of it during the Clinton Administration.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 11:05 pm
Good stuff, good stuff. And I second Edgar.

I don't agree with the Catholic sex abuse scandals, though. That was genuinely huge, and I don't think that the fact that other scandals (Kissinger) were NOT reported means that this one should have been ignored. (Or given comparably little attention.) This was about far more than "caring so much about someone who committed sex crimes in the '70's", obviously. It was about the coverup most of all, how often it happened and how long it was allowed to continue, the implications for major aspects of the priesthood, (celibacy), the implications for how out of touch the decision-makers in the Catholic church were and are, etc., etc.
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 03:52 am
And I third that. Right on PDiddie!
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 04:37 am
Why, thank you, everyone. Embarrassed
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gezzy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 04:39 am
;-)
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 06:48 am
Sozobe- Agree. The fact that a huge institution like the Catholic Church covered up what could be called "institutionalized abuse" was something that HAD to be brought before the public.

As far as the other stuff, it is really difficult to separate the "spin" from the reality.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 07:42 am
Joanne - my brother and his family live right in the path of the DC sniper. They were pretty dang scared when we'd talk to them on the phone during those weeks when those nuts were on the loose.

I do not consider that story overrated.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 10:53 am
That just about covers it all. I should add that the constant redefining of what Bush meant inorder to cover his verbal and mental blunders. In addition the blaming of the Clinton administration for all the problems, both domestic and foreign, that we are now confronted with. It's a constant no me culpa.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 02:03 pm
I have a particular distaste for crimes against children but I think the Cathoilic scandal was driven by American Media's obsession with sex more than anything else. It was noteworthy and media all over the world reported it, as they should, but American media made it's customary sex circus out of it. I'm not sure many Americans would agree but when comparing media from outside the US to media in the US you see a big difference in the way sexually related stories are treated. It seems that in America debauchery is the most interesting news subject.

It gets my vote as most overrated story of the year.
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Booman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 03:06 pm
Most stories about a movie star's private life. Remember the old days, when you had to go to the gossip columns to read about a star getting arrested for a DWI? Now it opens the evening news.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 03:13 pm
LOL too true! I forgot. Winona was the most overated!
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