- The Washington Times - Monday, April 22, 2002

No news, good news
"According to an ABC News poll almost half of all Americans now get some of their news over the Internet, and over a third of them increased their use of on-line sources after September 11. While seeking out information on-line, people looked beyond traditional sources. For example the Drudge Report was the 20th-most popular destination for a week following the terrorist attacks. A special episode of the NBC television drama 'The West Wing' devoted to the issue of terrorism attracted more than 25 million viewers, its largest audience ever and roughly three times the viewership for the network's evening news.
"A 2000 Pew Charitable Trusts poll found that more than one-third of Americans under 30 now get their news primarily from late-night comedians and 79 percent of this age group say they sometimes or regularly get political information from comedy programs such as 'Saturday Night Live.'
"A Jay Leno monologue satirically pointing out the political ignorance of the general public, a scene from 'Law & Order' exploring racial injustice in our legal system, an episode of 'The Simpsons' lampooning modern campaign tactics, or an Internet joke about Bill Clinton can be as politically relevant as the nightly news, maybe more so."
Bruce Williams and Michael Delli Carpini in "Heeeeeeeeeeere's Democracy!" in the April 19 Chronicle of Higher Education

Bowing to Islam
"Although President Bush first spoke of a crusade against terrorism, a word that resonates in a largely Christian American population, he quickly withdrew the word because of its unpleasant association for Muslims. Muslims look on the medieval Crusades, the Christian military efforts to retake the Holy Land, quite differently from the way they look on their own long drawn-out conquests of Christian lands, a process that ended only with the breaking of the siege of Vienna in 1683. Therefore the word crusade offends them. In the Christian West we find the Muslim term jihad quaint or amusing. They do not.
"[T]he ruling elites in government and the media are virtually prostrating themselves before Muslims living in our lands, as well as before an idealized image of Islam that ignores both the history and the realities of life today in Muslim-ruled countries."
from "A Time for Truth," in the April issue of the Religion and Society Report

Gloomy guy
"It's funny, Ronald Reagan used to go on about 'gloom-and-doom Democrats,' but I don't know if I've ever met a Democrat who was gloomier or doomier than [William J.] Bennett.
"I don't think there's a silver lining anywhere that he can't shoot full of clouds. Look [in his new book, 'Why We Fight'] how he swoops down on an elementary school 'just outside Washington, D.C.' that teaches its children 'that you should always find a peaceful way to solve your problems because you should never be violent.' Sound policy, one would think, for the conflagrations of 11-year-old boys, but under Bennett's scowling inspection, it becomes 'a pre-emptive judgment against the president, to prevent another generation of young people from learning the proper uses of righteous anger, and to throw dust in the eyes of the American people.'
"All that treachery from a single elementary school.
"This character, this William Bennett, is a sad man: He was born 200 years too late to write the Federalist Papers, and he can't find a cause equal in stature."
Louis Bayard, writing on "Culture war is hell," Tuesday in Salon at www.salon.com


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