James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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With a full chest, who needs a full stomach?

Posted by James McPherson on May 30, 2008

In criticizing a New York Times story that reports a World Bank increase in spending from $4 billion to $6 billion for food programs, economist Dean Baker points out that for most Americans such numbers are meaningless. While the increase is 50 percent, that figure comes out to less than $8 per person for the people of the U.S., Europe in Japan.

That might still seem high, without Baker’s other bit of context: “Another helpful comparison is that the new spending figure is equal to less than 2 weeks spending on the Iraq War. Since almost none of the NYT’s readers have any idea how much $6 billion is, there is no point in writing in a number like this without any context. It is simply a pointless ritual.”

Much like the war itself.

But at least George Bush, performing at another annual ritual, is still finding ways to look manly, though the Air Force Academy congratulatory move seemed to wear him out a bit. See one photo below, or the disturbing seven-photo series here, of what Wonkette describes as the president “‘chest-bumping’ a graduate, who has probably already died in Iraq.”



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