Thursday, April 30, 2009


What do you think about the way the issue of torture has been covered? Is it fair to both sides? How has President Obama handled it? What about former VP Cheney's criticism of Obama?

This may tip my hat, but I found one particular part of Obama's 100-day speech interesting on this topic. He retold the story of Churchill during World War II. England was being mercilessly bombed. It was horrible. And England had about 200 enemy combatants. However, instead of stooping to torture chose to take a long-term, moral approach by not allowing torture. His reasoning was that once taking a step like that a society could never go back. No matter what happened the rest of the war, there would be this long-term impact of choosing to treat people that way. He took the more difficult path.

Torture is easier. Is it worth it for the short-term or long-term?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Media mayhem

We had some discussion in class today about weekend news. There were a few major headlines:

1. Outbreak of what is being called the swine flu.

2. GM is eliminating the Pontiac line, laying off 21,000 employees by 2010.

3. The NFL draft - like it or not, it's everywhere.

Those dominated the news, with other things like the economy, Obama's first 100 days, the NBA and NHL playoffs, the Yankees-Red Sox series, etc,... also drawing attention.

It was interesting to note one story that drew far less attention than I expected: A 57-year-old professor at University of Georgia in Athens shot and killed three people on Saturday afternoon. As of right now, there is an ongoing manhunt for him. My students had not even heard about this story. Here is the current story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, two days after the shootings:

Why was it overshadowed?

If it involved students, would it have drawn more attention?

If it was involving a minority would it have been a bigger headline?

Decision-makers in the news had plenty to deal with this weekend, to be sure. I'm not sure if they missed this one or not. But it is interesting how a seemingly big news story can be shuffled aside simply due to timing of other big stories.