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My choices from among CNN's options for the top 10 stories of 2003:
1. Ongoing strife in Mideast - This includes "war in Iraq" and "war on terror". They're all interwoven. If you really wanted to stare into the hard face of reality you could add in Chechnya, Kashmir, and much of Africa. And Bosnia/Kosovo, the Philippines... of course, you'd need a new umbrella title. Dar al-harb, perhaps?
2. Economic ups and downs - know why this isn't on CNN's list, or the "public" list? Because it's all ups.
3. Controversy over 10 commandments list - CNN probably considers this too provincial to merit inclusion. And I'd guess people avoid controversial issues when choosing top stories; don't want to appear to be supporting that "other side." Or maybe some of that non-confrontational Christmas spirit lingers on. Whatever side you're on in regards to this issue, it's a great indicator of the nature of the mood and mindset in the American public square today. (In more ways than one.)
4. Democrats vie for Presidential nomination: The absence of this from both CNN and readers lists is remarkable. Are people missing out on all the great fun? This gives quite an open invitation to the Democratic candydates (not a spelling error) to go at it without much scrutiny. So have at it boys and girls, we wait your next pronouncements with bated breath.
5. Loss of space shuttle Columbia: This strikes close to home. I've worked with shuttle missions and know some folks who fly them. And in addition to the human cost the setback to the space program is enormous. Having grown up in the "space age" I know what it's like to be a citizen of a nation that seeks the real stars (vice Kobe, Brittney, Madonna, and Michael). If the president wants to re-energize NASA and the space program with missions to the moon, mars, or beyond, I'm all for it.
6. Standoff with North Korea: Simmering on the back burner, always close to boiling over. The number one totalitarian dictatorship I'd like to see fall (peacefully) this next year. Close to home again; when the Berlin Wall fell I was in Korea. I remember the euphoria I felt all that distance away, mixed with a tinge of sadness that the same thing would likely not happen on the Korean peninsula. But there's always hope.
7. Crisis in Liberia: Easily the "forgotten story of the year". Remember: African nation in crisis, Bush accused of not having enough compassion, floats 2,000 Marines in a boat just off shore, accused of not doing enough, situation resolved peacefully, story drops off front pages faster then shark attacks and Chandra Levy on 911. A great and forgotten example of the US's much-improved ability to resolve things peacefully (albeit by showing determination and a hint of force) in a post-Iraq war world. (Think: Libyan nuclear program.)
8. California gubernatorial recall: Hard not to vote for a story with the word "guber" in it. Okay, seriously, it's interesting that the California wildfires made the peoples' choice list and this didn't. California wildfires are as perennial as some California Wildflowers. This story is overrated at #3 on CNN's list. The "Republican revolution" may not be the best term for it, but to spin the California story any other way is a denial of reality. (An argument could be made that it's more of a Democratic failure then a Republican success.) Although this issue is somewhat uniquely Californian, more so then the 10 commandments issue is uniquely Alabamian, both have obvious reflection on, repercussions to, and reverberation in the American spirit.
9. Gay civil rights issues: This also somewhat interchangeable with the 10 commandments issue - insofar as it is a morality issue in the minds of many, and in some cases the opposing sides on both issues feature the same players. (The interesting folks are those who are the exception to that statement. Freethinkers in action!) But the banning of religion from the public square, the twisting of "Freedom of Religion" to "Freedom from Religion" is infinitely more important. The gay rights issue is one of importance, but also over-inflated by the media, a media that has probably energized both sides of the debate. Expect this to be in the top 10 for next year too, but not many after that.
10. Ahhh... that final pick's a toughie... here it is: "Heat wave blamed for thousands of deaths in Europe." (Am I the only one who finds the wording curious? It reads like they don't want to declare the heat wave guilty until after a proper trial in the World Court.) Like the recent earthquake in Bam (Hey, where's that on the list? Damn those December news stories!) this horrendous human tragedy points out the difference between the US and under-developed (or over-extended, or unconcerned) nations in dealing with environmental tragedy. (Note: another thing wrong with wording, excessive death toll was in France. Yes, that's part of Europe, but an obvious attempt to be inoffensive just makes CNN look pathetic.) Compare to the SARS outbreak, which "scores" bigger as a news story only for its scare value. The Euro-heat deaths won't spread to Peoria, you know. The most rabid spread and greatest repercussion of SARS was within news rooms. Like Anthrax, West Nile Virus, Monkey Pox, Ebola, and any other hot new disease that could get you to loosen that grip on your wallet. Listen closely during a CNN TV report and you'll hear the cheering from the boardroom. Plague is a "bread and butter" story. Like war, famine, and death in general.
I predict there will be more of each in 2004. And we'll most likely all be here to discuss it at the end.
Happy New Year.
I voted Iraq and 'Ongoing strife in the Mideast' separately. Mostly because I listen to CNN enough to know that the latter is a euphemism for the Arab/Israel war, which has been going on since Israel first existed.
I lack your interest in 'moral' issues. Uday and Qusay, I thought important. Other than that, our 10 were (order differed somewhat in detail) the same.Posted by Kathy K at December 31, 2003 12:16 AM
I see the moral issues as important, though for the most part you'll find I don't deal with them here in the blog. But as far as things that will matter in America in 10 years (which is one thing I ponder when determining what news is important) I think resolving the dilemma that exist behind the specific stories is vital.
I really can't disconnect Uday, Qusay, and Saddam from the bigger Iraq war picture. I wouldn't have a problemn with CNN lumping Saddam with the Iraq war if they hadn't already singled out the deaths of his sons.Posted by Greyhawk at December 31, 2003 12:16 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)