Health panics

By all accounts, Ebola is a deadly disease, now ravaging parts of west Africa and taking a dreadful toll on people there. But for the US media, there is no scare in any part of the world that cannot be made into a scare here. We have seen one media-fuelled panic after another over the past few years, with bird flu, swine flu, SARS, and I forget what else. If ever a real epidemic hits, we have more to fear from being crushed by mobs of people running around wildly in panic than from the disease itself.
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NPR’s worst reporter

My nomination for that would be its ‘national security reporter ‘ Dina Temple-Raston whom I have long castigated for being an unapologetic propagandist for the organs of the national security state. Glenn Greenwald gives yet another example of her breathless and uncritical coverage, this time of claims made by the CIA and its front organizations.
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Shameful behavior by the New York Times

When the Bush-Cheney regime went on an orgy of torture, they denied that what they were doing deserved that label and the US media became extremely coy about calling it that, although the practices such as waterboarding had been unambiguously condemned as torture when done by Japanese on American prisoners of war and the perpetrators had been executed. The New York Times was one of the worst culprits during that period, routinely using the phrase ‘enhanced interrogation’ that the Bush administration wanted them to use instead of calling it torture.
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The Israeli propaganda playbook

In January 2009, Israel took advantage of the period before Barack Obama’s inauguration to unleash a yet another massive assault on Gaza, killing over 1,400 Palestinians, again mostly civilians and children. Operation Cast Lead, as it was called by Israel, created a major worldwide outcry because of the sheer brutality of the Israeli bombardment, similar to what is happening again now, and even led to a UN commission to investigate.
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I will be on the radio tomorrow

The Cleveland public radio affiliate station WCPN 90.3 FM will be having Joe Puckett and me on their morning call-in talk show The Sound of Ideas that runs from 9:00-10:00 am tomorrow (Tuesday), with a break for national news from 9:01-9:06. We will be joined by Tim Beal, a professor of religious studies at my university, whom I have known for a long time and is a very thoughtful scholar, and a rabbi whom I do not know. The show was triggered by the debate I had with Joe Puckett but will not be devoted exclusively to the question of god’s existence but will be broader and look at the rapidly changing landscape of religious beliefs.

[Update: I have just been informed by WCPN that Tim Beal will not be on the show but Peter Haas, another thoughtful scholar of Judaic Studies from our department of religious studies, and Craig Bauman, President of the University of Akron’s Secular Student Alliance, who will be calling in.]
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