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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 08:22am Mar 22, 2001 EST (#1295 of 1296) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

The dust cover for NEWS AND THE CULTURE OF LYING: How Journalism Really Works continues:

"The problem begins with the news story and its insistent focus on crisis and emergency response. Newsmakers, seeking publicity, translate themselves into the language of the story. Reporters are aware that newsmakers are posturing, but to uphold the credibility of their work they generally withold that fact. Editors, who ought to put a stop to the practice, usually insist on it. A system of "editocracy" manipulates and browbeats the working reporter into betraying the truth about the fabricated nature of the news event, thereby closing the circle of the culture of lying.

"Journalism has strayed very far from its roots as a liberal calling. Weaver argues that it can only recover its true mission of enabling democratic politics by committing itself to serve the interest of its readers, rather than its managers and advertisers, cutailing "crisis-oriented" stories in favor of "deliberative" formats, and educating journalists as citizens rather than as professionals.

What Weaver asks for sound impractical to me, at least in large part. I feel that The New York Times , and some other first line papers, do take the responsiblilities of citizenship seriously - in part. But the culture of news, though it may involve the possibility of lying -- carries too much truth to be subverted in all the ways Weaver suggests.

But the "culture" he describes - which was put into place, and functining well, by 1915 - is not set up for the new global realities -- it is not well defended against the internet, and other information technologies. There are new opportunities -- if people are willing to send in clear.

Gorbachev was right that "openness" is crucial. There are socio-technical challenges associated with openness -- but they are challenges before us, that carry important opportunities.

rshowalter - 08:37am Mar 22, 2001 EST (#1296 of 1296) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

The CIA was built by people who knew well how to conceal EVERYTHING important in ways that made them impregnible to the journalistic usages Weaver describes.

The military-industrial complex that was well evolved by World War II, and that Eisenhower did so much to advance, but then warned against in FAREWELL ADDRESS of President Dwight D. Eisenhower January 17, 1961. was highly evolved to evade any compromise of function according to journalistic usages as Weaver describes them. And remains so.

The defenses of these institutions, however, are far less formidible than they used to be. The information "lied about" is mostly not fully concealed -- it is simply made available in forms that Weaver's "culture of journalism" cannot digest. Now, this information is available, and with some new sociotechnical usages that are now fully possible, can be brought to bear in the cause of truth.

It can happen in clear, and in full view of anyone who wishes to look or participate in an open way.

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