What needs to change in the media?
Matt Bai is a political reporter and staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, Bai graduated from Tufts in 1990 and received a Masters from the Columbia School of Journalism in 1994. Bai began his reporting career at the Boston Globe's metro desk; he spent five years as a national correspondent for Newsweek before coming to the Times in 2002. Bai has covered all sorts of national news: everything from the Columbine shootings to John Glenn's last space voyage to Mike Bloomberg's mayoral campaign. In recent years, Bai has focused primarily on intra-Democratic Party politics. He is the author of The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, an analysis of the progressive movement. Bai's work has also appeared in both the 2005 and 2006 editions of The Best American Political Writing. Matt covered the 2008 presidential race for the New York Times Magazine.
Matt Bai: You know there’s a lot of, you know, self-…. There’s a lot of feeling . . . and certainly a lot of feeling in the public that the credibility of the media has deteriorated. And you know I think some of that is, you know, we’re at a time of war. And if you really look back at the history of this, I think it’s important to do. You know American media has never been good with war. In a free society with a national interest, and a military, and a free press, it’s very hard to balance all of this. It always has been. And actually I would argue that in most ways that count, in many ways the American media has gotten better over time; has evolved; has not gotten worse at all. I mean look. My in-laws were my . . . My mother-in-law and her entire family were… during the Second World War in an American concentration camp. And my . . . my father-in-law fought for a segregated army unit to try and win their release, which never happened. And during the course of that time over 100,00 Japanese-Americans at the heyday of the great, you know, Rooseveltian America . . . more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans . . . citizens of America were rounded up and put into …, and the press didn’t say a word. And there wasn’t a peep out of the American press, right? You can’t tell me that we’ve gotten worse. You can’t tell me that, you know, that was a golden moment. Vietnam . . . We remember about Vietnam a handful of correspondents who, you know . . . who courageously told the truth about what they saw. The . . . the real picture of course is very different. The vast majority of American media for years and years was . . . was . . . was very timid about that war. And in fact, you know, a lot of those journalists we now think of as heroes of the Vietnam era, they couldn’t get their stuff printed for a large period of time. So in the larger sweep, I think the American media, you know, has gotten better, and I think we have a lot to be proud of. But we, you know, we go through difficult moments. I think we’re in a difficult moment, and I think one of the most precious commodities you have is the trust of the public. And to the extent that we squander that, you know it does have long term ramifications. I mean it’s such a diversification of media now that it’s . . . it’s very difficult because people have to understand that, you know, Access Hollywood does not do what I do. And part of it is the responsibility of the consumer.
Recorded on: 12/13/07
American media has never been good with war.
The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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