Fox Backlash? -- In 1999 on Meet the Press, when Tim Russert asked candidate George W. Bush how many missiles the U.S. would have left if the START II treaty was signed, Bush said, "I can't remember the exact number." Russert dropped the question. When Russert questioned candidate Howard Dean last summer about how many men and women serve in the U.S. military, Dean said he couldn't recall the exact number. Rather than drop the question, however, Russert followed up with, "As commander in chief, you should know that." Dean finally pegged it at between 1 and 2 million. (The actual number is 1.4 million.)
These episodes underline the growing sense that the mainstream national media has it in for Democrats while Bush gets a free pass. And according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & amp; the Press, that feeling is growing. According to their survey of 1,506 adults, 39 percent say there is bias in coverage of the presidential campaign. Meanwhile 38 percent say there is no bias -- but in 1988, 62 percent believed coverage was fair. In 2000, 19 percent of Democrats said coverage favored the GOP; today, 29 percent of Dems see media coverage unfair to their cause.
Young people are reacting by tuning out; one in five of those between 18-29 said they regularly learn something from the Internet, while another 21 percent cited comedy shows like Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show as trusted sources.
Things God Never Intended -- Ever since Mad Cow Disease surfaced on a small farm in Washington, Americans have learned the truth behind the industrialization of meat. It was scary to learn that beef often consists of parts from "downer cows," and it was equally shocking to discover that the F.D.A.'s 1997 ban on feeding cattle parts to cattle hasn't stopped the practice.
"But the grossest feedlot dish we read about in our newspapers over breakfast has to be 'chicken litter,'" writes Michael Pollan in "Cattle Futures?" published in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, "the nasty stuff shoveled out of chicken houses... Oh, yes, I forgot to mention one of the ingredients in chicken litter: chicken feces, which the U.S. cattle industry regards as a source of protein."
But perhaps Paolo Bacigalupi, writing for High Country News, put it best: "People who eat these diseased cows can contract Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, a Germanic-sounding punishment for doing things God never intended... If ever there was a sin, the unholy act of feeding brains, spines, bones and blood back to cows is so steeped in moral and aesthetic nastiness that CJD, a disease which literally chews the brain apart, seems the only possible outcome. We have turned against nature, and now nature has turned against us."
Publication date: 1/15/04