Saturday Report 11/25/23 - Speaking of “polar,” President Biden did a “polar plunge” into the icy Atlantic waters this week...
The Best of the Rest of the News
America’s largest newspapers are actively working against our democracy. The Columbia Journalism Review, arguably the premiere watchdog of American news reporting, is out with a scathing indictment of political coverage in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Because these newspapers are so widely read and respected, they tend to set the agenda and tone for most other reporting in the United States, and what the Review found was shocking:
“Both emphasized the horse race and campaign palace intrigue, stories that functioned more to entertain readers than to educate them on essential differences between political parties. … By the numbers, of four hundred and eight articles on the front page of the Times during the period we analyzed, about half—two hundred nineteen—were about domestic politics. A generous interpretation found that just ten of those stories explained domestic public policy in any detail; only one front-page article in the lead-up to the midterms really leaned into discussion about a policy matter in Congress: Republican efforts to shrink Social Security. Of three hundred and ninety-three front-page articles in the Post, two hundred fifteen were about domestic politics; our research found only four stories that discussed any form of policy. The Post had no front-page stories in the months ahead of the midterms on policies that candidates aimed to bring to the fore or legislation they intended to pursue. Instead, articles speculated about candidates and discussed where voter bases were leaning.”
This is the exact same type of “reporting” that led up to the 2016 election and brought us Donald Trump as president. It’s almost a cliche these days to complain about the “infotainment” we see in TV and radio “news” reporting that has come about in the wake of Reagan ending enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine, but to see this same type of horserace coverage passing as news on the front pages of the nation’s largest newspapers is, frankly, a crime against our democracy. For voters to make intelligent decisions about candidates, they must be well-informed. Sadly, that is very much not what is happening today in America, and it bodes ill for the 2024 elections.
The world’s largest iceberg is on the move for the first time in three decades. A23a is the name of this massive (1500 square miles; three times the size of New York City) iceberg that first calved off the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in 1986 but was previously stationary, grounded on the floor of the Weddell Sea. Now, the warming Antarctic waters have apparently melted enough of its underside that it’s up and floating out toward the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.