There Is No Cat

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

A Fifth Estate of Lapdogs

Dan Gillmor fears for the future of the profession of journalism in America, and with it, for the future of America in general.

If this article by a BBC correspondent in Washington is to be believed, he's absolutely right to:

[T]he US media have not covered themselves in glory in recent weeks. And I am glad to be able to report that the Bush administration is properly grateful. I went to see the Vice-President make a speech a few nights ago. He finished with a reference to the war in Iraq, telling his audience: "You did well - you have my thanks."

Were these troops or government officials he was addressing? Neither, in fact: the occasion was the annual dinner of the American Radio and Television Correspondents Association.

It's all very, very cosy. No wonder the BBC table was No 148. Next to the lavatories and the emergency exit.

Go read the whole thing. It starts out with an exploration of a recent encounter between Donald Rumsfeld and noted British journalist David Dimbleby. Dimbleby won that particular sparring match. It's no wonder that papers like The Guardian and The Independent and the BBC's excellent news site report that such a huge percentage of their visitors come from America. What ever happened to the idea of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable? Our own press is failing us, and we need alternatives.

Posted at 2:11 PM

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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