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Jewish World Review Oct. 31, 2003 / 5 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Tom Purcell

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The Big Picture | The whole thing is being mismanaged and we need a change in leadership.

What are you talking about?

There are killings two or three times a week there. Our government is in over its head. Their policies are all wrong.

But there are a lot of good things going on there, too. The roads and bridges are being rebuilt. The schools are improving. Entrepreneurs are blossoming. Many people are enjoying an improved quality of life.

Improved quality of life! I have friends there. They say that some areas are so dangerous, they're afraid to walk down the street or go out at night.

But we must keep perspective. It's true bad things happen there every week. The loss of even one life is sad and painful, especially for the family members of a loved one who is killed. But millions of others there are facing a brighter future.

Brighter future! How can you say that when so much negative news is reported there every single day.

Because the news people are trained to report what is wrong, not what is right. If millions of people are safe and sound every day, but one person gets killed, which story do you think will make the evening news?

Ah, I see, so it's the media that is at fault?

Look, the killings are certainly a part of the story, but not the whole story. What's going wrong is part of a larger story that involves a lot of things that are going right. But the public isn't getting this broader story.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

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Look, do you remember the summer before last when the media reported shark attacks daily? Well, the public was in a panic about sharks. Some vacationers decided to avoid the beaches and beach business suffered considerably.

Your point?

Well, after the summer was over someone did an analysis of shark attacks that year. Guess what: There were FEWER shark attacks that summer than on average. You see how the media can cloud our perspective?

It is you who is trying to cloud our perspective. The fact is lots and lots of politicians are publicly questioning the decisions that are being made there. You're telling me all those politicians are wrong?

Hey, an election year is coming up. The art of politics is to sway the public toward your position, though some politicians aren't very artful. They'll say or do anything to win the public's attention, even if they know they aren't telling the whole truth - even if they know that the discord and confusion they breed will only embolden the killers to kill all the more.

Oh, please. You pretend to have all the answers so you why don't you tell me what is best.

All I'm saying is that for the public to make sound decisions - remember, we vote for people who run our government and we have the ability to influence the way they govern - we need to be well informed. We need to have a truthful and accurate understanding of the big picture in order to have sound judgment.

The big picture?

Yes, we need our media to work harder to report all the facts. The killings are so unfortunate and I in no way suggest we overlook them - things are NOT going as well as we want there - but we need to know more about EVERYTHING that is going on there. We need improved perspective that is based on the truth. And we need to work harder as citizens to understand what the truth really is.

You want the truth, I'll give you the truth. The truth is more than 100 Americans have been killed since the war in Iraq ended, and it's Bush's fault!

Iraq? I thought we were talking about Washington, D.C. and the more than 400 murders that have taken place there so far this year.

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10/10/03: Men and women and brains
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09/12/03: Food Guide Pyramid has a "stupidity factor"?
09/05/03: Flag waving and football cheering
08/29/03: People who have it all, too often don't
08/25/03: Attack of the 'virus twits'
08/08/03: Why not have a whole slew of the world's dignitaries and leaders come by to visit you?
08/01/03: Do you really want to live until 500?
07/18/03: "Ain't-my-fault" lawsuits are becoming more creative
07/18/03: The real story never makes for good summertime drama in Washington
07/11/03: Government bureaucrats, not elected officials, are really the ones determining what people and organizations can and can't do
07/03/03: Overworked Americans
06/27/03: The Metrosexual Male
06/20/03: Crime Etiquette in Washington, D.C.
06/13/03: My Father, the Thief and the MGB
06/05/03: An Open Letter to Bill and Hillary
05/30/03: We are a busy people
05/23/03: Liar, Liar
05/16/03: Laffer all the way to the bank
05/09/03: My mother's house
05/02/03: Teaching the Iraqis how to protest
04/25/03: Iraqi TV
04/21/03: Explaining Democracy to the Iraqis
04/11/03: Major increases to the beer tax? That's a cheap shot right to the beer gut
04/04/03: War humor
03/31/03: Dolphins, PETA and the USA
03/21/03: Traffic Wars
03/14/03: Ronald Reagan's St. Patrick's Day
03/03/03: My Family's Tragic Secret: We're French
02/21/03: I'm worried about my people
02/14/03: George Washington Makeover
02/07/03: Making quiet sacrifices
01/24/03: "Gimme the, goo-goo, gah-gah, remote!"
01/21/03: "Misunderestimated"
01/10/03: Republican night life
01/06/03: Exercise pills
12/31/02: They provide unending joy to those who are wise enough to let them in
12/13/02: Hurried Man Syndrome
12/06/02: In DC, snowstorms have important ramifications --- or, at least, they should
11/26/02: Police advertising
11/15/02: An Interview with Osama
11/01/02: How to vote in America
10/25/02: On edge in Washington, D.C
10/11/02: Giving new meaning to "selling your body"
10/04/02: Bush's Angels
09/27/02: Conservatives, Liberals, Dick Armey and Barry Manilow
09/20/02: Are SUV drivers are the new GOPers?
09/13/02: Bubba is Dubya's man
09/06/02: The Freedom to Picnic
08/16/02: Ah, the $izzle of anti-terrorist pork
08/09/02: Vacationless prez and gutless Americans
07/26/02: Study gives women permission not to hide their emotions
07/15/02: Patriot food
06/28/02: Eavesdropping on a San Fran classroom
06/21/02: The crowded skies
06/14/02: Contemporary Father's Day: A conversation for the ages
06/07/02: Legal rights for animals?
05/19/02: Advice for prom goers this year: Hold onto your money
05/10/02: Don't take her for granted
05/03/02: Letter to the parents of a tubby teen
04/26/02: Zacarias Moussaoui gets expert legal advice

© 2002, Tom Purcell