Tuesday, March 15, 2005


The Harvard faculty passed a no-confidence vote against their president, Lawrence Summers. This isn't the end of the world for Mr. Summers, who is responsible to a governing board that supports to him. Still, it can't have been a pleasant experience.

The Times is carrying a good editorial on why reform should begin in primary school, not high school. This is obvious, and it's bothered me that more people weren't saying it all along.

When I visited the Washington Post website today, the headline "Poll: Iraqis Better Off But War Not Worth Fighting" screamed at me. The obvious assumption is that the poll was conducted among Iraqis; in much smaller type below, we read "Majority of Americans feel...". In all fairness to the Post journalists, the headline of the actual article is "Americans Believe Iraqis Better Off Today", but the way it's presented on the home page is misleading, to say the least.

Staying with the Post, Richard Cohen provides a good example of how media organizations striving for 'balance' in coverage can go too far. C-SPAN wants to balance an upcoming Holocaust lecture at Harvard with David Irving, a Holocaust denier who has been ruled "anti-Semitic and racist" by a court in a lawsuit he filed.

The best news of the last couple of days was the huge demonstration in Lebanon yesterday against Syrian intervention in their country. Most of the American media outlets I've looked at have only vague figures on the total crowd size, but organizers claim over a million participants and the Associated Press put the total at 'well over 800,000'. For some perspective, the total population of Lebanon is 3.5 million. That is, one in every four Lebanese was at the protest!

I have a Complexity exam tomorrow, so thoughts on these and other issues will have to wait until that's over.

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