Chuck Freund has a typically astute piece on the press and the war. (Via Matt Welch.) I would add another point: Each national press corps seems to have its own pathology. For the American press, it's the giant campaign swing, as applicable in military campaigns as in electoral contests. First the front-runner can't lose. Then he's a total disaster. Ditto the U.S. military in Iraq. The audience, reporters seem to believe, will reward drama.
The British press corps serves its market, in turn, by passing on every rumor someone tells a reporter in a bar. The result are lots of juicy stories, some of them true. As a former U.S. news editor told her editors after 9/11, when asked why her paper wasn't getting the great stories in the British press, "They're great stories. But they aren't true."
Then, of course, there are the Arab TV services, with their tabloid penchant for blood, guts, and heavy-handed emotion. They're reminiscent of the old-time U.S. press, when big-city journalism was a new industry.
All pathologies, all market-driven, but all mostly self-correcting. Even Al-Jazeera will eventually grow up. Or at least Chuck, who's wise in the ways of both the media and the Middle East, seems to think so. You should hear what he says about Arabic satellite music videos...
Brain Waves: Neurotechnology on Corante is a fascinating new science blog by Zack Lynch. Check it out. You can also subscribe to a daily emailed version.
Phil Carter's excellent INTEL DUMP blog not only has good war-related coverage and commentary but also a bunch of links to blogs tracking the war. Check it out.
I hope you like the new site design, created by Adrian Quan, as much as I do. Please be patient with any glitches, and please, please, please change your bookmarks! If you run into dead links, please let me know. Thanks.
Reader Mike Wells writes, "Jesuits might have trouble parking in Dallas, but near my old apartment in Mountain View, CA, parking was even more restricted":
The uncropped photo is here.
I just got back from the annual board of advisors meeting of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. FIRE is a principled, effective organization that operates on a very modest budget (about $750K this year). Please give it your financial support.
One of FIRE's impressive recent initiatives is a series of guides to help college students know what their rights are and how to protect them. The series currently includes guides to religious liberty; to student fees, funding, and legal equality; to due process and fair procedure on campus; and to free speech on campus. In May, FIRE will publish its guide on first-year orientation and thought reform, which was the subject of Alan Kors's memorable cover story in my final issue as editor of Reason.
You can download the guides as .pdf files for free or order commercial-quality paperback copies for $3.95 each (free to students).
Thanks to the many readers who have contributed to Operation Homefront, either directly or through this site. As of Sunday night, we've raised $570.65, net of Amazon's fees, to send to help military families in the San Diego area. All contributions to this site, via PayPal or Amazon, through April 2 will go to Operation Homefront. Thanks.
When I was a kid, it was conventional wisdom that war was good for the economy. Now it's not. In my latest NYT column, I look at the change. [Posted 3/27.]
In case you can't tell, posting is light. I'm drowning in deadlines, plus I've got taxes to do and a FIRE advisory board meeting to attend in Philly. And I desperately need to shop for a new car before the '86 Civic completely dies.
I do have a couple of Dallas-related postings on the new D Magazine group blog, Front Burner. I learned from Front Burner that NR's Rod Dreher is moving to Dallas to join the Morning News editorial page staff. Perhaps he has a comment on this photo, taken outside a North Dallas fabric store:
Speaking of Movable Type, a spiffy new Dynamist.com site design, including a Movable Type-based format for the blog, is coming next week. Adrian Quan is the designer. [Posted 3/27.]
Here are a first-hand account and photos of the grenade attack at Camp Pennsylvania, by Time correspondent Jim Lacey and photographer Benjamin Lowy, who are embedded with the 101st Airborne. [Posted 3/24.]