Terrorist coverage more PR than journalism

Editor,

Shame on our so-called "journalists" for betraying their duty for so long now. They failed us worse than any intelligence community, which merely missed clues; these guys fed us a completely one-sided story of the Middle Eastern conflict and thus disarmed us from being able to present our true interests to our political representatives.

By failing to let us know the extent of the hatred against us (that millions of Muslims have considered us at war with them for years now), they stole our warning. And they continue to make us a target of terroists who resent U.S. actions which could be changed if only they were freely reported on and debated.

By changing U.S. actions in the Middle East, such as sanctions against Iraq which have killed more than a half million innocent civilians (the U.N. estimates), we could expect to dry up the support among Muslims on the street for these sadistic terrorists. This makes it not only a matter of justice and Christian Love, but also a matter of self-defense.

By requiring Israel to pull back to the boundaries the world recognizes, we could make some amends for one of the most offensive foreign policy mistakes we have ever made, and could thus prove ourselves to be truly interested in being not the boss of the world, but an equal member of a world family.

The fact that these potential self-protective policy changes are not even debated freely is a success of the very rich and powerful pro-Israel lobby.

And the fact that this lobby is not discussed more by our media is a further proof of their own abdication of responsibility. Something so influential (and now we can see is so potentially destructive to our own interests) as that lobby deserves to be public knowledge. Where has that coverage been?

Just as it is shamefully anti-intellectual to confuse explanation of why the terrorism happened with justification for it, it is similarly weak-minded to confuse criticism of Israel with being anti-Judaism.

That makes no more sense than thinking that criticism of the Taliban is anti-Islam, or criticism of Jerry Falafel and the "American Taliban" is anti-Christianity.

We need to spend a billion dollars on improving departments of journalism, perhaps beginning by endowing chairs of professional ethics to underscore the difference between journalism and public relations.

When reporters are interested in being appreciated as more than corporate and government PR flacks, i.e. when the American public is educated as to the difference between journalism and public relations (and the activities and influence of PR on our decision-makers), we citizens will begin to be in a position to debate and defend justice and our own true self interests. Thank you.

Bob Williams

Hood River

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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