July 19, 2010

Heat & Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists

Posted: 12:07 PM ET

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from “Heat & Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists”.  The paperback came out last week.

Journalists also have to be brave, or at least bold. The profession often requires that reporters do things that are emotionally difficult, or expose themselves to some degree of danger.  Reporters who cover war or conflict obviously put themselves in great peril. Such was the case when Mike flew to Tehran in December 1979 to interview the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The ayatollah had just taken power after leading an Islamic revolution in that Middle Eastern nation, sending Iran’s king, the shah, into exile. The Iran story touched America directly: on November 3, 1979, a group of radical students supporting Khomeini took fifty- two American diplomats hostage inside the U.S. Embassy, threatening their lives and keeping them in captivity for more than a year.

The interview with Khomeini was a huge “get” for Mike, as it was considered a first look at the new face of Iran. But Khomeini did not naturally make for good television. The cleric was so conservative that he wouldn’t even look at Mike during their interview. Khomeini stared at the floor or off into space as he talked. So Mike asked him something that was sure to provoke him. After thinking long and hard about just how to phrase a question that would be certain to get a response but would not seem insulting, Mike quoted the words of the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat— like Khomeini a Muslim, but someone who was a close friend of the deposed Iranian king. “Imam,” Mike said, “President Sadat of Egypt says what you are doing is, quote, ‘a disgrace to Islam.’ And he calls you, Imam— forgive me, his words, not mine—‘a lunatic.’ ” Mike covered his heart with his hand as he delivered the question, as if to request forgiveness for asking something so tough. The statement was so explosive that Khomeini’s translator didn’t dare relay it at first. “The translator was looking at me as though I was the lunatic for asking the question,” Mike remembers. Before Khomeini answered, Mike had to confirm to the worried translator, “Yes, that’s what I heard President Sadat say, on American television.” The ayatollah did not speak English, but he sensed there was a problem. “Khomeini saw what was going on between me and the translator— and he was making up his mind exactly what he was going to do, if the question was finally translated for him. He started to answer and began to say, ‘Sadat,’ ” Mike recalls. Khomeini was then speechless for several seconds as the question sank in. Finally, he said that Sadat could not be considered a Muslim because “he compromises with the enemies of Islam.” The ayatollah’s expression remained stony throughout, but Mike got to him.

Where did Mike get the chutzpah to ask this question? “What are they gonna do? Make me a hostage?” Mike says, laughing. “You know something, I’m quite serious about that. That would be a hell of a news story, wouldn’t it? ‘Wallace has finally done himself in.’ ” Mike felt, as many journalists do, that there’s some safety in being a reporter, and that Khomeini was unlikely to retaliate in response to a tough question. And while that was true for Mike, Khomeini was brutally harsh with others. “At that moment I didn’t know yet that Khomeini was sending youngsters out to step on land mines, to permit his troops to advance in this war between Iran and Iraq.”  Mike’s interview with Khomeini was a major event, and the lunatic question would go down as one of the most provocative of Mike’s long career. The legendary creator of 60 Minutes, the late Don Hewitt, called the interview historic and “one of the great moments on television.” Mike says that his boldness is probably one of the reasons he has succeeded as a journalist. “I haven’t the slightest reluctance to break in and say, ‘Hey, explain it’ or ‘Why?’ or ‘Because . . . ?’ or ‘Forgive me’ or ‘Come on!’ They are wonderful interruptions. They suddenly make the object of your scrutiny explain,” he says. And that’s what a good journalist has to be willing to do— to keep pressing until he breaks new ground with his questions. (We’ll talk in more detail about how to ask such questions later, in the interview chapter.) Good journalists are often skeptics— but they need to be skeptical without being cynical. Linda Mason, the senior vice president of CBS News, remembers working on a story years ago about why the price of eggs was going up. It seemed like a simple matter of supply and demand to her, until she got a call from an anonymous source who claimed that an organization was limiting the egg supply. She almost ignored the source’s claims but ended up following through on them to break a story. “Luckily, I listened to this other voice,” Mason recalls. “It isn’t always the easy solution that’s the right answer. Sometimes the more complicated things are true.” Last, good journalists are humble. We’ve seen reporters lose their jobs for being prima donnas— treating their colleagues rudely or getting so full of themselves that they didn’t do their work well. Most important, journalists must never let their egos get so big as to become insensitive to the plight of the people they cover.

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Michael D. Walker   July 19th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

Danger is a part of the job for reporters in some cases. Sometimes the news that we bring, and the lives we change out value our own. Here is my report, Audit the system!

For immediate release:

Michael Dion Walker, introduces "The New World Renaissance" with concepts in ending corruption, ending the war on drugs, introducing the future of energy generation for public and private investment at the same time cleaning the environment.

Michael D. Walker, in his newly published book from, "Tiny Pebble, Holy City" brings forth the perfect combination of industry and reform meets solutions. With the overall theme of the book being autobiographical, upon reading the pages of Tiny Pebble, Holy City, it becomes ever clear that this piece of work effects us all.

Chicago born, Michael Dion Walker knows a few things about struggle as well as what it means to dream big. His concepts for reform are revolutionary and long over due. He proposes Auditing the entire system of America in the search for corruption. This monumental task is epic to say the least, as it would employ a many American's for this much needed task.

His views on federalizing the police force into one body have been debated but never put into action. From Michael's perspective, long gone are the days of jurisdictional red tape and negligence. No more shall there be a green light for white color crimes.

Within the pages of this multifaceted book, full of art work and poetry lies the call of the Angels. Their trumpets are blasting " here is the way to cleaner the Earth"," Here is the way to freedom economical oppression", they are shouting "Welcome to the New World Renaissance"

In answering our need for a greater workforce, Walker introduces his concept called "The Aqua tunnels". These Aqua Tunnels are mega statues guaranteed to catch the eye. Not only will they be beautiful to the eye, they themselves are versatile in function. Not only do these giant works of art earn their place in the tourist market, they them selves are hydro-energy generation plants, water treatment facilities and in some cases industrial growing structures.

Walker proposes this as the new way of the future for architecture, forever changing the norm for skylines. With the building of but just one of Walkers Aqua Tunnel models, a small part of three industries are made available to the citizens of our nation.

With the introduction of these concepts to the world of the stock exchange, a vast many economical opportunities in the form of investments are made available to the general public as well as private investors. Along with other governmental projects soon to come on line, adding in governmental grant support, the Audit, and these Mega Aqua Tunnels will spell the end to Americas economical depression as well as our dependency on crude oil.

All in all, Tiny Pebble, Holy City cannot be over looked. With the tone of Walkers message's that blair from the pages of this extraordinary book, GOD has defiantly answered our prayers. It is now up to all of us to take heed. No more can we say that we do not have better ways.

North Chicago, Illinois 60064

txkboy   July 19th, 2010 2:09 pm ET

As long as their not writing for the Rolling Stone, they should be fine.

Smith in Oregon   July 19th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her Afghanistan and Pakistan stops in the Middle East to address the overwhelming concerns that the Afghanistan War is failing, Hamid Karzai is utterly corrupt and flooding the world with cheap Heroin is not one of America's values, dropped over briefly to Pakistan to deliver sacks of free American taxpayer dollars in yet another huge free giveaway to the Pakistan government.

Americans need to begin actively questioning just what all of the free American pouring into the pockets of the utterly corrupt Karzai Clan, War Lords, Drug Lords in Afghanistan and in Pakistan actually buying?

More Taliban fighters murdering American and NATO soldiers? More Taliban fighters murdering the Afghanistan people? More Taliban fighters murdering the civilians in nearby India as they did in the recent Mumbai, India massacre?

A Lt. General of the Pakistani ISI appears linked to the man that wired large amounts of money to the 9/11 high jackers. The same Lt. General of the ISI met with virtually all of the Bush Administration the week prior to 9/11 and left town the morning of 9/11.

Again, what exactly are the Billions of free American taxpayer dollars being funneled to Pakistan buying? More weapons and explosives to the Taliban fighters? More black op's to murder India's civilians?

A silent victim in this yet another massive transfer of American taxpayer dollars is America's senior citizen's programs across America which were slashed to practically non-existent levels recently. Many had worked they entire lives supporting and helping America, now they are treated by the Republican Potty'ticians like disposable trash, a drain on their corporate's special interests, instead of the dignity and respect they truly deserve from all Americans.

IKHAN   July 19th, 2010 3:33 pm ET

Hi Larry,
Hi folks

we don't have to go back that far into the past to illustrate this point.

We just have to look down at ourselves & what happened with & to the respected doyen of White House Press cor HELEN THOMAS, a 57 years veteran journalist right here in America right at the present time.
I don't think I can add more.

Joe G. (Illinois)   July 19th, 2010 3:47 pm ET

Just like some people whom in their best intention might wear beer goggles to investigate and report first hand on what might be the effects of alcohol during the normal course of a day.. So are American Journalist wearing Americana goggles to investigate and report on current events.

Funny thing is that in many countries where alcohol purchase and consumption is free and unrestricted to both young and adults, the same exact alcohol investigation yields different results.

Americana is Americana! And if Americana journalist want to pet themselves in the back for the despicable extent and downfall of judgment we see everyday on national TV, well, then..

Rose   July 19th, 2010 4:53 pm ET

I enjoyed watching Mike Wallace's many interviews on "60 Minutes". I have not read his new book. With the exception of indepth shows involving proper investigative journalism, American journalists – particularly television as opposed to written media, overwhelmingly fail to report on the "whys" of a situation and tend to focus on the immediate "what's happening".

While there is nothing inherently wrong with that, it provides coverage with little if any background on causes and events that led up to it. The "context" of the existing news story is void. Presumably, it may be more of an editorial issue.

Journalists present different images and perspectives – certainly in television journalism, reporting is reduced to whatever can be contained within a couple of minutes. This distorts reporting of facts. It is powerful in shaping the enormous impact that mass media
has on how public opinion is formed, in that it tends to cover the majority opinion – certainly in the US.

A pronounced story missed by the American media is the one the rest of the world is discussing: The Trans Afghanistan Pipeline and the Afghan war. The $ billions invested, American corporate involvement since the Bush Administration, the pipeline's route and our troops protecting it. The US competition for natural gas in Central Asian nations with Russia and China. A huge story covered openly everywhere but in the US.

The advice for the next generation of American journalists (at least those reporting on world events) would be: Cover stories properly, with context and background. Not from an ethno-centric perspective, serving to further the uninformed status quo of the already indoctrinated masses, concerning our foreign policy.

Admittedly, those perspectives which challenge the US Government's stance internationally or those of the various corporate media owners' interests – will fall by the editors' wayside or worse, be completely ignored, as is the case.

Smith in Oregon   July 19th, 2010 6:43 pm ET

How sad that CNN's guest Dana Priest interview about post 9/11 Secret Agencys in America was nothing but a regurgitated morass of tightly prepared propaganda in regards to the gigantic secret security and intelligence agencys that Bush-Cheney funneled some 1 Trillion dollars into creating after 9/11.

There appears to clearly indicate that these agencys knew about the underwear bomber prior to him boarding his American bound flight in Amsterdam without a passport in his possession. All video tapes of the man helping him thru Amsterdam's very tight security checkpoints without a passport and onto the flight to America have disappeared. Typical cover-up, their patented claim, the information wasn't shared or passed on. These massive secret agencys were created under the public 'guise' so that such information would be shared!

There are indications that these agency's knew about Maj. Hassan's agitation and frustration over many years as a US Army Medical Staff Officer prior to his allegedly committing the largest case of fratricide in US Army history. Despite this, the utterly inept Base Command, Gen. Cone is still at his post. All reports and complaints filed by and against Maj. Hassan over the past 3 years appeared to have all been seized and disappeared. Typical cover-up.

NSA's new Operation 'Perfect Citizen' appears to be a gigantic invasive tool used to snoop on all American's via their power grid connection.

Sadly, this appears to directly go against President Obama's campaign promises of not allowing nor permitting further invasions of America's Freedoms, Liberty's and Rights which were entirely under assault during the horrific Republican administration of Bush-Cheney.

Does this signal that like the CIA with Afghanistan's Opium-Heroin trafficking, America's NSA is no longer controlled by the Executive Branch of Government?

Nana Brown   July 19th, 2010 10:25 pm ET

Let us to look behind the American media it’s one-sided view supporting the State of Israel by our tax dollars, supporting the illegal innocent killing of millions breaking all Western and Eastern moral. Sadly our lobby, our corporations and our media is not independent. When will we ever learn? Free media.
"I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy [in the Middle East] not approved by the Jews. [Former Secretary of State George] Marshall and [former Defense Secretary James] Forrestral learned that.... terrific control the Jews have over the news media and the barrage the Jews have built up on congressmen .... I am very much concerned over the fact that the Jewish influence here is completely dominating the scene and making it almost impossible to get congress to do anything they don't approve of. The Israeli embassy is practically dictating to the congress through influential Jewish people in the country"

Sec. of State John Foster Dulles in Feb. 1957 quoted on p.99 of Fallen Pillars by Donald Neff

RH   July 20th, 2010 12:38 am ET

Everyone needs an education as to the meaning of racist and the practice of racism.
Racist is a person who practices racism. Racism is defined as a "superiority complex" by one race and IMPOSING its dominance over another race. It's perfectly fine to be proud of who you are...your ethnicity, religion, skin tone, sex, etc. ... but not at the EXPENSE of another just because you "PRECEIVE IT" as truth.

The KKK is pro white .... but at the expense of African Americans, Jews, Hispanics, and anyone who is not a white / Greco roman Christian. I personally know of a DVD that was passed around saying that members of the KKK were democrats … and using that simple argument to convince African Americans to join the Republican Party. I doubt that a Black man in the 40s, 50s, and 60s actually cared what party affiliation his tormentors belonged to.

Nazis are pro white ... but at the expense of African Americans, Jews, Hispanics, and anyone who is not a white / Greco roman Christian. Some even claim that there wasn’t a Holocaust.

And it appears the tea party condones such “fringe element” within their fold without condemnation. Part of being a racist is supporting and JUSTIFYING the racist views of others instead of simply saying that its wrong (as some tea party members have done). You just continue to defend White … not right!

The NAACP is pro African American and pro Civil Rights for ALL at the expense of no one. They have been the frontrunners for Justice and everyone BENEFITS.
You don't see Jim Crow Era caricatures of ANYONE at an NCAA sponsored event but you continue to see racist caricatures in 2010 at tea party rallies. And yes ... that is racist because the majority condones the stereotyping of an entire race of people by continuing to support Jim Crow era reticule, language, and degradation that fan the flames of hatred and a false sense of superiority.

Smith in Oregon   July 20th, 2010 5:06 am ET

Could someone check the math here, this appears to be something like a depraved US Military Dr. Strange Love preparing for WW3 numbers!

Today's Washington Post revealed some of the gigantic scope of the new Shadow Governmental Branch the utterly corrupt, paranoid and depraved Republican administration of Bush-Cheney created under the guise of 'Dept. of Homeland Security'. A mind staggering 800,000 employees at top secret clearance or higher, 1,300 new agency offices nationwide. While the percentage of total employees in this Shadow Government to the managers holding Top Secret or higher access is not publically known, it must be 2 to 1 or higher. That would mean at least 2.4 Million employees or more!

The 800,000 managers with Top Secret or higher clearance's would easily pull in 100,000 or more each. That would place just their annual federal payroll at a staggering 80 Billion dollars? The total on the books costs for this Shadow Government is 75 Billion dollars! Although it is widely felt the total is perhaps 5x larger or more. Apparently the rest is funneled thru various shadow accounts to hide the true total American taxpayer costs from Congressional oversight.

At least 2.4 Million employees operating in a ultra-secret Shadow Government network in 1,300 new agency offices across the Nation and setting up each of those 1,300 new agency offices no doubt cost a great deal of American taxpayer dollars as well. Such an enormous secret Shadow Government would normally be dismantled during a peaceful period on the Earth, however my grave concern is that such a Shadow Government would create multiple Wars if none existed.

IKHAN   July 20th, 2010 12:33 pm ET

Hi Larry,
Hi folks.

journalism motivated by quest for truth & the courage to make it public slid into the shadows of a repressive establishment during the Bush-Cheney era of infamy. Now the White House Press Corps or the main stream media just toe the line & do selective feeding to the general public.
Powerful foreign govt lobbies & special interest groups see to it that the media does not step out of line. We have seen it done for 9/11, the Iraq disaster, Israel-Palestine conflict, Afghanistan debacle etc.

@Nana Brown
In 2001 Mr. Benjamin Natanyahu in an unguarded moment blurted out what he thinks about America like Ariel Sharon saying" I know America.Its a thing that can be moved easily in any direction".And that he decieved America on Oslo accord.This according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
This same person gloated over 9/11 disaster in 2008, saying that "it has been very good for Israel"
Our mainstream media would not of course report such trivial items vital to our national interests.

Rose   July 20th, 2010 4:12 pm ET

@ Ikhan

The following are some headlines you will "NEVER" see in the US media:

"Iran Holds 52 American Hostages Due to Decades-Long US Support of Brutal Dictator The Shah" (1979)

Note: British and US spy agencies deposed the democratically elected government of Dr. Mossadegh in a military coup and restored the Shah as an Absolute monarch – destroying any chance at a democracy in Iran. Now we see the end result there of US actions.

You won't see these headlines either:

"Bush & Cheney Intend to Attack Iraq in Greedy Motivation To Cash In On Military Contracts – Use Fear as Excuse"

"Unocol & CIA Put Taliban in Power Thinking They Would Permit the Building of Trans Afghan Pipeline"

"US Troops Die – Not for Freedom & Democracy – But For Corporate Investments in Afghan Pipeline"

"Bin Laden Not on FBI's Most Wanted List for 9/11 Due to Lack of Evidence of His Involvement" (absolutely true)

And if only:

"Republicans Plan to Parachute Lifesize Jesus Doll Over Jerusalem – Hoping for More Christian Right Wing Support in Confusion Over the Second Coming"

"Palin Last Seen Chasing Jesus Doll for Potentially Lucrative Joint Speaking Engagement"

Lucy   July 20th, 2010 5:10 pm ET

I loved Mike Wallace on CBS and 60 Minutes.

And, then his son, Chris, became a mouthpiece for FOX NEWS/Republican Party.

IKHAN   July 20th, 2010 6:43 pm ET

Hi Larry,
A media that stands on its own feet & does not back off when shooed off by powers that be is what this country needs. Can you pioneer that effort, Larry?
thanks. Keep up the good work

@Smith in Oregon
550 million dollars to Pakistan seem to fit right in with our policy of writing checks without debate or conditions for countries like Israel (Dollar 6 billion plus a year) Egypt (Dollar 1 billion a year?)
The trillion dollars & counting for Iraq disaster, a billion dollar a day tab for Afghanistan futility. Billion 75 for Homeland Security or is it a trillion? No problem.American tax payers are always happy to oblige.
What Congressional oversight? They are all in it together folks.

Nana Brown   July 21st, 2010 1:01 am ET

Does any one care for trillions of our American Tax dollars & counting is costing us to protect Israel and then to protect us in United States because of our failed foreign policies.Israels offended our government it's allies without anything remotely resembling an apology. We are made to feel guilty and held hostage for the Holocaust since we were reading Ann Franks dairy.
Will the Israeli lobby allow the story of Rachel Corrie, the American activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer be read in our public schools?
We can not extradited Samuel Sheinbein to United States to stand trial in Maryland for the murder of his fried Alfred Tello an American in Maryland, who body was found dismembered in his home in the most brutal way and parts of his body not yet found. Sheinbein escaped US with his attorney father Sol Sheinbein to Israel in Sept 1997. Free media for a free America.

Smith in Oregon   July 21st, 2010 4:53 am ET

@ Rose, thank-you for posting those headlines which were likely monitored out from the enormous news media turn-table which collects information around the world and news agency's select from, UNLESS a government agency removes it which does happen, by the FBI, CIA, NSA, US State Dept. and now the enormous Shadow Government known as the 'Dept. of Homeland Security, DHS.

When a pertinent headline or news item is found on European, German, India's, Russia's or China's headlines or news agency's and it doesn't show up in any Western News (including BBC), the chances are very high it was pulled by one of those above agency's. I've seen this happen with items that were missed also and quickly removed after a single viewing where someone in those agency's spotted it and made a phone call which removed it.

@ IKHAN, yes it seems the American taxpayers are merely seen as life-blood donors to the Republican lawmakers nefarious oversea's activity's which when brought to light are found to be very repressive and roundly rejected by the American people as lacking in American values.

Donald Allen   July 21st, 2010 11:24 am ET

I Just wonder what It like at Jennifer and son house I wood Like to no how she is Liven and what Happen before she is gone Blind what the deal with here I Just Like all My star friend I,M Hoping the Best four all rely what is it that they wood think any different right I,M not saying I don,t love them so what can I say made how no they might get like one day and get to no A Loving GI Like me you no what yes I no it well kill Hem right so if we or thing about supper man yes I,M sorta Like hem right well I was going back to well Back in My mine 1985 to a time wen Mon what going thru a Bat time that was we were not as close as we or now you see I,M wherein about Jane what going on with here EYE I want to no I Just wood like to Visit here and Just see it four My self what you think Larry the King what going on with you I Thinking off you right now so what on dude it store we right It life we live or we or living sum one Else dream what the deal so Jan you want to meet up and let us see what it is with you or not

Donald Allen   July 21st, 2010 11:32 am ET

that is or time if you can understand what it is I,M saying you see the world is a place were man is liven and it no better than that you see I,M in a dream world and I like it like that so the Tim Zone is here I don,t no what you or think But I no we all sum times want to tell other what they can can not do if you no How it field than way do you keep on with it get it strait you no I,M telling the truth But how care about what is right or what is wrong you say I wood like to no you no see you so take care of your self and Have a good one get right get it start and then you can talk to me about what is right see you Be good

Rose   July 21st, 2010 11:52 am ET

@ Nana Brown

Great points. Unfortunately there are too many roadblocks created in the US to prevent valid discussions of Israel. The strong Zionist Lobby is one – resulting in the pro-Israel bias in Congress (in 2009 many member of Congress and their spouses were "guests" of the Israeli government). "The Best Congress AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Can Buy" by Philip Giraldi, is an informative read.

The false association that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic – i.e. the manipulation of mixing a secular political cause with religion – is another. The misnomer that Israel is the "only democracy" in the region – a true misnomer due to it's established apartheid practices concerning land and other issues (subject to racial qualifications).

Another roadblock is the large Christian right wing lobby's support for Israel based on misinterpretation of biblical text by wrongfully associating the ancient Israel of past to the current Zionist state. This group got GW Bush into power and kept him there. They believe that unconditional support of Israel is necessary to accommodate the return of Jesus, the Rapture etc. How can one rationalize with delusional thinking that supports evil brutality?

Israel is a "Client state" of the US. The US is in violation of the law, the "Symington Amendment" in which aid of any type is forbidden to nuclear states which are not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – Israel did not sign. Dual-citizen Israelis now serve in US Government positions, conflict of interest and allegiance. There are cases of Israelis spying on America.

As Israel is nuclear-armed, the US can use its client state to leverage influence over Arab nations. The US gives $ billions to Israel to be its surrogate. This results in continued conflict and war.

The US State Department recognizes the “institutional, legal and societal discrimination” that Arab citizens and Palestinians face in Israel, a situation that seems to only be getting worse. Human rights does not seem to matter.

Israel is also a very large buyer of US weapons, this reciprocal arrangement perpetuates the negative influence of the American Military Industrial Complex and associated weapons industries feeding war. A huge profit maker.

In a 2001 cabinet meeting in Israel, Ariel Sharon infamously said: "Don't worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America."

Over $100 billion of US taxpayer money has been given to Israel, that US support of Israel actually raises threats against Americans rather than promote security. The arrogrance and open defiance of PM Natanyahu against our own President.

Don't expect open criticism in our media of Israel. The toxic mixture of lobbys combined with the stupidity and blindness of religious right wing support will ensure the continued flow of our hard earned tax money to Israel.

The expectation is for Americans to shut up and keep paying up.

IKHAN   July 21st, 2010 6:14 pm ET

would the media ever step forward & take it upon itself,as it should, to get the truth to the American public on the issues now being discussed on this blog??
This would be doing a great service to this nation.

very well said.
@Smith in Oregon
your input on important issues greatly enhances the effectiveness of Larry's blogs in airing topics of relevance to us.

Rose   July 21st, 2010 6:31 pm ET

@ Smith in Oregon

What you wrote about censorship – is exactly the reason why I read international sources for information about what is happening concerning the US.

Fortunately there are a number of American journalists and academics who write, with solid facts, about relevant issues. They are not headline makers but well worth the read if one knows which sources to look at.

Unfortunately, the masses still rely on sound-bites to shape their uninformed opinions. The danger of these "20-second exposures to news" is they result in staggeringly misled views, which takes it toll re: public opinion, which inevitably affects government or lack of questioning government. Vicious and damaging circle.

For example, when the US went to war against Iraq – GW Bush had a high amount of support from Americans. Supporters suddenly became know-all's in world politics. When asked BASIC questions to "correctly" identify: the enemy, the reasoning behind the war, was Iraq responsible for 9/11, the evidence to support our aggression, and any response to the UN confirmed there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – a great many Americans had the WRONG understanding. . . And we still went to WAR – the most serious action a nation can take. That's what I mean by damage.

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