The New Curmudgeon

By Winship, Thomas | Editor & Publisher, April 6, 1991 | Go to article overview

The New Curmudgeon


Winship, Thomas, Editor & Publisher


The New Curmudgeon

"I don't believe for a moment you can function as an intelligent citizen by simply relying on television."

Timothy Russert, senior vice president and Washington bureau chief of NBC News, let slip those naughty words at the Theodore H. White seminar in Cambridge last November, reminding us that the average American family spends close to eight hours a day watching television.

There is our challenge, print brethren. How do we grab away a fraction of those tv hours now that the huffing and puffing over how we covered the Gulf war is subsiding?

I have a few story ideas which just might help recapture the print press's traditional agenda-setting role. The answer lies in the stories on which we choose to concentrate. They may be obvious but all are especially urgent, continuous and most do not require overseas travel.

Most important, all do "move the canoe on down the river toward a more perfect democracy," as former Chicago Tribune editor James D. Squires wrote the other day.

Start covering the United Nations. Remember that organization which George Bush and James Baker maumaued so brilliantly into supporting all-out war in Iraq?

Until the Bush/Baker forces went to the U.N., guess how many U.S. journalists covered the U.N. on a full-time basis. Fewer than 10. The number holds, even weeks after the ceasefire. This out of a worldwide total of 250 reporters accredited to the U.N.

Only the New York Times, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Los Angeles Times and Knight-Ridder have full-time correspondents on the job there.

The Washington Post and the Christian Science Monitor and all the rest of the large metros that could afford it rely upon stringers or their New York bureau's general-assignment reporters, unless, of course, a crisis is developing. The head count comes from Louis Foy, president of the United Nations Correspondents Association.

This skeletal staffing exists at a time when the U.N. could move onto a new plateau after its pivotal role in the Gulf.

It is a time, too, when most U.N. agencies, those devoted to assistance to development, children, poverty, environment, population and UNESCO, all have been somewhat jeopardized by the U.N.-backed Gulf war. Important peacekeeping work is going on in those dark recesses. This should be covered, and it need not be boring. Yet only a handful of American editors think it is worth covering on a regular basis.

Start covering the global flow of arms. Wasn't the wholesale sale of arms and other lethal equipment by the superpowers to Saddam Hussein the underlying cause of the war against him? Now the flow is starting all over again. Let us not forget that, since 1980, the United States alone sent about $1.6 billion in arms and high-tech equipment to Saddam. One shipment of military goodies landed in Iraq just one day before we went to war against him -- our own weaponry. In the arms-selling frenzy, too, were Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union and China. Talk about greed unlimited.

U.S. defense contractors, urged on by the president, already are lining up at the Pentagon begging for more contracts. If the contracts are not granted, they argue, thousands of jobs across America will disappear just when the recession is peaking. The shopping list of the governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates is estimated at an enticing $60 billion. The industrial military complex is in full cry.

Further south, several African countries are in desperate throes of famine and disease, yet they are unable to deal with their survival crises because they are bogged down in civil war, wars made possible by the import of foreign arms. Who will pressure the United States to refuse to send weapons that prolong wars which are killing millions on the world's poorest continent?

The flow of arms is a giant First, Second and Third World story.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The New Curmudgeon
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.