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The year’s big headlines: so what?

Editorial cartoonist Steve Brodner revisits some of the major headlines of 2010, ruminating on the lack of impact they have had on the American political scene:

“In 2010 some of the major news stories appeared and had a surprising impact — none!

The BP oil spill despoiled habitats cross thousands of miles, but had little significant impact in the 2010 campaign.

In reporting the end of combat operations in Iraq, the more important and complicated story remained the continuing sectarian chaos and violence there.

National health care passed — and has remained a mystery ever since.

The Greenland Ice Sheet is apparently melting faster than expected. All coastal areas of the world are marked for flooding, or much worse. Yet, it’s not on our radar. So far from it, in fact, that half of the new GOP House members reportedly do not accept the science of global warming.

We seem to be editing out headlines we don’t like. Reports come in. We remain in our own space. Drifting, inattentive to them. We are somewhere else. Dancing, with the stars.”



  • Vjlink

    Studies suggest that if a fact does not conform to an individual’s world view or personal philosophy, then they will discard it despite all proofs to the contrary. Whether it’s evolution or global climate change (renamed because people couldn’t grasp the concept that the world hadn’t suddenly turned tropical) that has been proven again and again. Tell people about the individual parts of the health care plan and they are all in favor, call it National Health care or Obamacare, and suddenly it’s a socialist plan that will force everyone to pay for health insurance (untrue, only those who can afford to pay for it but don’t will be fined, most will still get theirs from their employer or group plans, but again, the lie wins).
    The BP oil spill, the coal mine disaster, the problems with natural gas from shale, are all a result of weakened regulations. When polled most people in Louisiana believe that Obama’s handling of the oil spill was worse than Bush’s handling of Katrina, even though thousands died and it took almost a week before the government responded, months to get some aid, and there are parts of New Orleans that still aren’t back to normal years later. The Gulf spill took three months to shut down. (although it will be years before the Gulf is clean)
    Perception is EVERYTHING these days. Fact is nothing.

  • ablestmage

    I think you’re looking at an age where you can pick your news more than before, where before your selection of news was largely limited to whatever was printed in the paper or shown on the “film-at-11″.. I haven’t had a television for four years and don’t take the paper, and I still have a decent idea of what’s going on because I actively look the news up. I think the lack of impact you suggest is more genuinely, instead, failure to adapt the measurement-of-impact to the current era — by relying on old modes of measurement rather than the new modes by which news now travels.

  • Shubie50

    It is no surprise~sometime in the ’50′s it was proven that sugar fed cancer. We have sugar in everything now and everyone is moaning about themselves or relatives with cancer…. No one wants to eat things that actually PREVENT disease…. Arrogant ignorance deserves what it gets!

  • daveyj

    Why did you spoil the video’s last line in the article?

  • Gillrilla

    ‘The Drunken Driver Has the Right Of Way’
    by Ethan Coen

    The loudest have the final say,
    The wanton win, the rash hold sway,
    The realist’s rules of order say
    The drunken driver has the right of way.

    The Kubla Khan can butt in line;
    The biggest brute can take what’s mine;
    When heavyweights break wind, that’s fine;
    No matter what a judge might say,
    The drunken driver has the right of way.

    The guiltiest feel free of guilt;
    Who care not, bloom; who worry, wilt;
    Plans better laid are rarely built
    For forethought seldom wins the day;
    The drunken driver has the right of way.

    The most attentive and unfailing
    Carefulness is unavailing
    Wheresoever fools are flailing;
    Wisdom there is held at bay;,
    The drunken driver has the right of way.

    De jure is de facto’s slave;
    The most foolhardy beat the brave;
    Brass routs restraint; low lies high’s grave;
    When conscience leads you, it’s astray;
    The drunken driver has the right of way.

    It’s only the naivest who’ll
    Deny this, that the reckless rule;
    When facing an oncoming fool
    The practiced and sagacious say
    Watch out — one side — look sharp — gang way.

    However much you plan and pray,
    Alas, alack, tant pis, oy vey,
    Now — heretofore — til Judgment Day,
    The drunken driver has the right of way.

  • Alikhat

    Is anyone else getting a single still picture and no video? I keep having this problem, but only with PBS’s site.

  • T. Hambone

    “You ain’t gonna learn what you don’t wanna know.”

  • CCfleharty

    It seams chicken little has found its followers. The top five gobal warming experts emails exposed the fact thgat global warming is farse. Those idiots in Europe only use global warning to impose a one woprld order and that will NEVER happen in America. The ozone hole comes ane the ozone goes as it has for milions of years, but one thing for sure their is a metor heading this way with Earth’s name on it like every 20 million years. Times up, too badI, I wouldn’t worry about a little water and ozone, Let’s see what those liberals will do about the next extintcion, they get toasted too, so sad!!

  • Idastuff

    Why is everything reported as a sign of Obamas success. It was an oil spill, report on it. It is a war, report on it. It is bad banking, report on it. It is rising water from global warming, report on it. It is health care, why didn’t you tell us about it instead of trying to tell us the impact on Obama, ALWAYS the questions you raise is what is this going to do to OBAMA instead of what is this doing to US?

  • bubbamusic

    Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow and David Brinkley are all gone. Their replacements are not journalists, but political hacks. No one believes them anymore.

  • bubbamusic

    Perhaps the attitude that the people are too ignorant for their own good is part of the problem. As I stated before, we aren’t told the truth, even when the underlying story is true. Examples of this are the supposed emails from the British climate scientists. Why did they do that? Was there really a need? I am a news junkie and I listen to all sides from left to right and I have heard all of your alleged truths, but they have never been presented by any credible news organization along with the undeniable truth. That is the reason that this stuff doesn’t stick. To us ignorant ones, they are either not true or there is a large part of the story that is missing. The voters of Louisiana decided that the Democrat governor that refused Bush’s offer to help was as much to blame as anyone else. There is no question; that decision was political. I would love to get unvarnished truth with a large dose of evidence instead of one network or the other repeating their favorite side’s talking points. Either the media is trying to influence us or are just plain lazy. I think that it is the latter.

  • Steve Brodner

    To your points:
    *Yep, Cronkite is gone, but we have great journalists today. Ezra Klein, Mac McLelland, Dexter Filkins, all terrific. The Newshour, Frontline, Need to Know have very high integrity plus great story telling ability. And you’re right we have to pick our sources and think for ourselves. Amy Goodman; how many people listen to her? And that’s the problem. The mass media know that Mel Gibson is MUCH more interesting to us. So that’s what we get. And mass media mold mass perception. So let’s get Mel Gibson to stand on top of the Flatiron Building, naked, reading Jon Meacham. It will get reported.
    *And he will report then that GLOBAL WARMING IS SETTLED SCIENCE, okay? Let’s repeat that as much as is necessary. We won’t save ourselves unless we can sweep away the deniers. There is no OTHER SIDE to this. CO2 traps heat. A 19th century discovery, you know.
    It is not about Obama, but the president has to stand for principle.
    *And yes, framing is key. How we cal things determines how they are perceived. Frank Luntz has made a career based on that understanding. But not for Dems; they don’t pay nearly as much.
    *And lastly, yeah, sugar can make you sick. Have an organic apple.

    Wishing us all a peaceful and wakeful new year.
    Steve Brodner

  • Cartouche21

    Does anyone know the piano peice fom Steve’s “Dancing with the stars” ? I ‘d love to know the name, Thanks.

  • jerry

    I was unaware that the governor of Louisiana refused help from Pres. Bush at the time of Katrina !

  • jerry

    I for one would like to know what makes people believe global warming exists. and I would like to know what makes people believe global warming does not exist. I myself do see things contributing to our worldly problems. and then upon looking once more, see that the earth itself creates problems too. and that the earth “fixes” many problems of the world itself.

  • Vsanfi

    The corporate Republicans control what goes on the media.
    They cheat the elections, we didn’t elect them.
    They even cheat the census, further cheating redistricting and elections.
    We are living in a propaganda dictatorship. Don’t blame us, investigate and prosecute!

  • Vsanfi

    US is the ONLY country in the world that has people who don’t believe global warming.
    99% of scientists have been telling us this since 1950.
    The other 1% are on the payroll of oil people who control the media and brainwash people like you.

  • Sanfiv

    Our internet is bugged and censored, just like the news.
    The other videos that get jammed are on 9-11 and vote cheating.
    These are the 2 BIG secrets they don’t want you to know -
    they are dictators and they are war criminals, just like the Nazis.

  • maggie d

    It is relatively simple if you want to prove it for yourself, and come up with a rough but credible estimate of global warming: take the outside temperature at your location every single day of the year. Then, calculate the average temperature for that year by dividing 365 into the totaled sum of those 365, daily, accumulated temperatures.This should show you a yearly average temperature in your region. Continue to take the outside temperature every day for another 365 days, and repeat the above process. As you continue to do this every year, you will find the temperature to be one half of one degree higher than the year before.

    As you calculate the yearly temperature, you will continue to find, each year, the temperature will rise another one half of one degree. These half-degree-per-year rising temperatures do accumulate. In other words, at the end of five years, the average temperature of your location would be 2.5 degrees higher than it was five years before. Before you celebrate the warm weather in upper Minnesota or Alaska, think again….

    …Searching for possible consequences of global warming would be your next assignment (after you conducted your own (above) scientific experiment, of course), as I wouldn’t want to tell you what to believe.

  • maggie d

    Could you please list the five global warming experts (World and/or National experts)? I would like to research their findings, so that I can learn what you already know.. Thanks.

  • maggie d

    There are many instances when we are obligated, under law, to tell the truth. In a court setting, for instance, we are obligated to tell the truth or face perjury. We are, however, under NO obligation to tell the truth in the media. When our local media (in/on online, newspaper, television, magazine, book, radio) tells us the latest “news,” they are legally permitted to lie.

    What would happen to our justice system if the our Supreme Court, our Representatives and Senators decided “there is just too much regulation in our court system, interfering with our freedom of speech.” Imagine murderers going free, innocents charged with murder, judges paid off, lawyers paid off, the ordinary citizen vulnerable to the charges by a jealous neighbor;
    a wife killed by her husband without penalty ; a worker killed off by an irritated employer; an irritated worker killed by an employee–all injustices to the human population, and caused by lying.

    Obviously, the consequences of a “free for all” justice system are easily seen and understood by all, and would DEEPLY affect all of our lives if regulation was eliminated. Why is lying in the media allowed, when it, also, DEEPLY and TRAGICALLY affects our lives? It is nonsense to say that being allowed to lie in/on the media interferes with Freedom of Speech!

    Lying in/on the media about news that affects our lives–affects our “Life, Liberty, and our pursuit of Happiness–does, in fact, actually prevent the citizens of this ONCE great country, from from KNOWING who are the most ethical, most intelligent candidates for office; who suppresses information within our government; who feeds citizens propaganda and calls it “news;” which President, for instance, attempted to lease our Wilderness Lands and our Pictured Rocks National Park to oil, lumber, coal, and mountain-top mining corporations, without consulting the proper agencies? We did not fully know those plans because the “news” is not obligated to tell the truth. The “news” is a “public forum,” thereby guaranteeing our “First Amendment Right” to tell lies and to be told lies.

    There is no reason we cannot return to designating the following news media as: “truthful information” or “solely the opinion of the writer, reader, broadcaster, or news pundit.” Even now, Bill O’Reilly readily admits, when pressured, that his show is a collection of “my opinions.” Why not return to the practice of prefacing a program with information on who is broadcasting/writing facts, and who is offering opinion(s)? We might return, once again, to a better U.S. than we have right now.

  • maggie d

    How do you decide if the news is accurate? How do you recognize propaganda?

  • M-1269

    CCfleharty: you are an idiot. In other words, a perfect republican; deny anything your little archaic mind can’t understand.

  • Ann Keenan

    Could you quote those phrases that tell the impact on Obama. I really do not know what you mean.

  • Ann Keenan

    Who do you mean by “they”?