Down with the “Objective” Media

A comment from Belmont Club.

Back in the heady early days of the American experiment the media was gleefully, virulently partisan. It descended directly from pamphlets and polemics. There was none of this “impartial” or “objective” journalism stuff that was created as a byproduct of the process of granting government monopoly rights over broadcast spectra to individual radio and television stations. In other words, the whole idea of “objective” journalism came out of the same kind of thinking that created the Fairness Doctrine, which was intended to encourage a multiplicity of views in a scarce medium but perversely discouraged all views. Now unused broadcast spectra are not scarce. There is unused AM spectrum everywhere in the US, and unused FM spectrum in most cities and all less populous areas. So scarcity is not a good argument, as the only scarcity is that created by government’s monopoly-granting power. Now that we have a true multiplicity of views on the radio, the internet, and fox news, it makes no sense whatsoever to impose a new Fairness Doctrine to mess it up. No sense, that is, unless the actual intention is to stifle free debate.The alternative is blind stupidity, which should not be discounted as a modus operandi.

It falls to those who recognize the problem and the solution to come up with, or support, the pamphleteers and polemicists who rise up to fill the need. Lulu.com offers one business model. Cafe Press offers another. Blog businesses like Pajamas offer yet another business model. But none of these have made it possible to be a full-time blogger making the kind of money someone with a family and mortgage needs to make. And none have opened up the opportunity to be anything other than an opinion columnist. Where are the spots for beat reporters, advertising writers, editors, cub reporters? Where is the career path? Where is the revenue model that would attract someone with deep pockets to be the publisher of this enterprise who lends it a unifying vision, a consistent style, and operating capital?

Your thoughts are appreciated.

Shannon Love talks about the evolution of the “objective” media better than I can here. The DU has a lefty take on the same issue here.

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‘It Does Happen’: Planned Parenthood and Infanticide

This is about the greatest civil rights struggle of the 21st century. As slavery was ended by the insistence of abolitionist Christians that it was wrong, so will the genocide of millions of innocent babies be ended by the insistence of Christians and others who see clearly that abortion is intrinsically wrong and evil. And eventually Roe vs. Wade will be rightly seen as the 20th century equivalent to the Dred Scott decision.
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And when did doctors stop swearing and adhering to the Hippocratic Oath? Have they replaced this pagan morality with a higher morality, or with nothing at all?

The “Classical” Hippocratic Oath

I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepios and Hygeia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art – if they desire to learn it – without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

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Mycodiesel: Diesel from a Tree Fungus

treefungus460The Guardian reports on a Patagonian tree fungus that bears, in its natural state, a remarkable chemical similarity to diesel.

The fungus, called Gliocladium roseum and discovered growing inside the ulmo tree (Eucryphia cordifolia) in northern Patagonia, produces a range of long-chain hydrocarbon molecules that are virtually identical to the fuel-grade compounds in existing fossil fuels.

This fuel compares favorably to biodiesel produced by algae and other bio-engineered methods that are currently under development.

Many simple organisms, such as algae, are already known to make chemicals that are similar to the long-chain hydrocarbons present in transport fuel but, according to Strobel, none produce the explosive hydrocarbons with the high energy density of those in mycodiesel. Strobel said that the chemical mixture produced by his fungus could be used in a modern diesel engine without any modification.

Another advantage of the G. roseum fungus is its ability to eat up cellulose. This is a compound that, along with lignin, makes up the cell walls in plants and is indigestible by most animals. As such, it makes up much of the organic waste currently discarded, such as stalks and sawdust.

In tangentially related news on the alternative energy front, Shawn-Yu Lin of the Rensselaer Institute has developed a coating for solar panels that absorbs 96.2% of sunlight, from all angles (so no need to move panels to improve absorbtion), about half again more than the 66% absorbed by the current generation of solar panels.

More at Treehugger.

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