Thursday, December 30, 2004
For perspective: the $35 million dollars in aid that the US has committed to tsunami relief efforts equals the cost to America of fighting the Iraq War for little more than three-and-a-half hours.
How does this compute?
According to "Project Billboard" the War has cost America more than $157 billion thus far. "Cost of War" more conservatively puts the number at $147.6 billion (as of 6:00pm EST, 12.30.04).
America has been at war in Iraq for approximately 654 days. So, taking the more conservative number above, that means:
654 days X 24 hours = 15,696 hours;
$147.6 billion cost / 15,696 hours = approx $9.4 million/hr
In actuality, the war may now be costing America much more than $9.4M per hour, Jeff, my accountant friend from Grand Rapids, points out. That's because the above calculation is based on straight-line averaging. "In fact, we have more troops deployed today than we did a year ago," Jeff writes. "I would say the actual hourly cost right now is probably closer to $12 M or more."
[Added knowledge: Though often annoying in a condescending humanist kind of way, Nicholas Kristof occasionally gets it right. Exhibit A: This article on American stingyness]
Those leading efforts to defend the public's right to access include Lucy Daglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Read her report at MediaChannel.org.
" . . . .the secrets guarded by those in Washington don't only involve Star Wars programs run amok, or abuses of civil rights in a time of war, or poor management of an agency vital to national security. Denial of access to information of all sorts is growing 'at an epidemic rate,' according to Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley."
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
The year 2004 drove a few more well-placed nails into the coffin of Big Media. Newspaper circulation continued to decline, as did the television networks' audience -- viewers turned to cable stations. Radio lost listeners and stars such as Bob Edwards and, soon, Howard Stern to satellite upstarts. The technologically savvy programmed their iPods and TiVo boxes to create their own programming playlists and TV grid.
Is the public served well by news outlets that project and reflect opinions rather than present facts and new information?
What we are really witnessing is the fault lines of a media industry in turmoil -- what many are calling a "post-journalism" period, where mainstream media reporting is more about packaging and entertainment than about information sharing.
The ongoing consolidation of Big Media has sparked a widespread public backlash; more and more Americans are calling out for a media system of their own, one that responds to diverse needs and involves them in civic discussions about our democracy.
MediaCitizen is an investigation of the new media frontier, a place where people can take control of their digital destiny.