- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Secular slumber

“Secular and liberal Turks have had a rude awakening from years of deep slumber. Kemal Ataturk’s heritage is about to be destroyed — not by an invading power, but from within by fellow Turks who yearn for an Islamic state.

“Ever since Ataturk, Turkey has been divided into those who want to run state affairs on Islamic principles and those who want to keep Allah’s will from the public space. …

“Turkish secular liberals must devise a plan to start their own grass-roots movement, one with the message of individual freedom. They must restore the confidence of the electorate in trusting Turkey’s economy to them, and they must reconquer the institutions of education and information, police and justice.”

— Ayaan Hirsi Ali, writing on “EU should stand by Turkey’s liberals,” in the spring issue of the New Perspectives Quarterly

Pharma fears

“In November, the pharmaceutical giant Merck launched a series of television ads for Gardasil, the somewhat controversial vaccine designed to prevent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in young women. The ads are smartly sexless, featuring a series of individual prepubescent girls who stare straight into the camera and spout facts about cervical cancer.

“Innocuous as they seem, ads like these would be banned if the American Medical Association and certain patient groups got their way. Pharmaceutical companies that appeal directly to the people their products most benefit —patients — are still regarded with suspicion….

“Public health advocates consider such advertising a threat to consumers, who may be misled into asking for risky pharmaceuticals.”

— Kerry Howley, writing on “Fever Pitch,” Monday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

Embedded

“Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) saw the advent of a practice which revolutionized modern war reporting: the embedding of journalists with frontline combat units in war. …

“[T]he biggest result of the embedding process was the shift it caused in the relationship between the military and the media, which laid the groundwork for a fundamental change in the dynamics of war reporting. As Maj. Gen. Buford Blount of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division explained, ‘A level of trust developed between the soldier and the media that offered nearly unlimited access.’ …

“It doesn’t matter how skeptical of the war a journalist might be, according to an Army public affairs officer (PAO) who spoke with me. … ‘So often, they come out of that experience and — even if their opinion of the war hasn’t changed — they’re completely won over by the troops.’ …

“While embedding may be decried by some for causing journalists, who claim the utopian titles of ‘objective’ and ‘neutral’ for their reportage, to lose their cold detachment and actually begin to see the soldiers they live alongside as humans, it is that very quality that makes the practice of embedding reporters with military units so beneficial to both parties.

“Rather than observing events from a safely detached distance — and thus being able to remove the human element from the equation — embedded reporters are forced to face up to the humanity of their subjects, and to share common experiences — often of the life-and-death variety — with those who they are covering.”

— Jeff Emanuel, writing on “Winning the PR War in Iraq,” Tuesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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