2006: Biggest Stories of the Year?
This is the time of year when we get swamped with those end-of-the-year, retrospective, what-does-it-all-mean kinds of stories. But with the split-screen schizophrenic nature of America’s news coverage, it’s a question of which news items we think are the most important.
Is it the stories which have been repeated endlessly on magazine covers and the TV news? Rumsfeld, Brangelina, McCain, Mel Gibson, Mark Foley, Britney, Obama, Tom and Katy, Hillary, Iraqmire, threats from Iran and North Korea…
Or maybe some of the lesser-known stories are actually more important and far-reaching. How about the close relationship between Big Oil and Ecuador’s military forces? Or the Bush Administration’s plan to eliminate research funding in 2007 for the Environmental Protection Agency. Or the indigenous tribes in Peru whose way of life is being decimated by an oil pipeline being forced through their land. And don't forget the global water crisis which is getting more deadly all the time with no solution in sight.
These stories didn’t appear in any newspaper headlines, but does that make them less important than missing hikers or Mel Gibson’s latest blubberings?
The issue of Net Neutrality is probably the most glaring example of the gap between that staggering reeling Brontosaurus known as the Mainstream Media, and the real news coverage provided by thousands of online news sources and bloggers.
If you read political blogs and/or receive political e-mails, you’ve probably seen the words “Net Neutrality” enough times to make your head spin. Millions of people have signed online petitions and sent e-mails to Congress (and to telecom executives) asking them to preserve Net Neutrality. And yet I’ve never seen those two words appear in a daily newspaper; never heard them mentioned on a TV newscast.
Are we on the same planet? It’s like two different worlds living side by side. This will probably get worse before it gets better (if it ever does). There seems to be a smaller and smaller minority who’s well informed and duly alarmed by what’s going on in the world and inside our own government. Meanwhile the steadily increasing majority is being happily mesmerized by the endless parade of celebrity gossip and corporate-controlled “news” headlines.