Juan Cole's piece, "Our News and the News," compares recent headlines from two parts of the world. It points to noble political struggles in the Middle East in contrast to the tawdry spectacles that fill U.S. news channels and, for that matter, what passes for politics here.
"Americans live in a late capitalist society where the rich have gotten many times richer and the middle class has gotten poorer, where Wall Street bankers have stolen us blind and blamed us for living above our means, where persistent unemployment is worse than in the Great Depression, where most politicians and some judges have been bought by corporations or special interests, where authorities actively conspire to keep people from voting, where the government spies on citizens assiduously without warrant or probable cause, and where the minds of the sheep are kept off their fleecing by substituting celebrity gossip, sex scandals, and half-disguised bigotry for genuine news.
In the Arab world, masses of 20-year-olds have challenged their corrupt politicians and manipulative billionaires in the streets, demanding transparency, an end to arbitrary secret police, and free and fair elections untainted by influence-peddling and plutocracy. I have Arabic satellite t.v. on in the background most of the day, with its dramatic stories of personal risk and human tragedy and bold challenge to a rotten status quo. And I channel surf over to the American cable news and mostly find fluff or de-contextualized reports or, frankly, propaganda. So here is my life, the day’s news given synoptically, our news and their news."