On My Radar 5/8/09: They Knew

* They Knew
* DC Buys Foreign Electric Cars
* Journalist Slams Media Narcissism


Here are the stories that interest me this morning, along with my take on why they may be of interest to philanthropy and nonprofit leaders.

  • Lawmakers briefed in detail about torture. Reports are surfacing that a number of members of Congress had been briefed on the use of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has previously denied being given any details. The CIA submitted a report on Wednesday that outlined meetings with dozens of lawmakers and “presents the most thorough information we have on dates, locations, and names of all Members of Congress who were briefed by the CIA on enhanced interrogation techniques,” according to CIA director Leon Panetta. The information is drawn from contemporaneous memos and files. (A Pelosi spokesman says it confirms the Speaker’s contention that she had “been briefed only once.”)
      Waterboard by flickr user waterboardingdotorg
      "Waterboard" by flickr user waterboardingdotorg
    • My take: People were not as “in the dark” and “out of the loop” as they now like to say. Please let this chapter of our contemporary history be  closed.
  • DC buying electric cars. The mayor of our nation’s capital has announced a deal between DC and Nissan where up to 100 electric cars will be purchased, along with charging stations to support them. 
  • Newspaper big criticizes media “narcissism.” Pulitzer-winning Walter Pincus has written a lengthy essay in which he lays out his major worries for journalism. “My profession is in distress because for more than a decade it has been chasing the false idols of fame and fortune,” he writes. “While engaged in those pursuits, it forgot its readers and the need to produce a commercial product that appealed to its mass audience, which in turn drew advertisers and thus paid for it all. While most corporate owners were seeking increased earnings, higher stock prices, and bigger salaries, editors and reporters focused more on winning prizes or making television appearances.”
    • My take: This piece echoes my own sense that placing journalists on a “democratic pedestal” for so long has created a professional culture of entitlement. Bunker mentality will do that. Yes, journalism is critical for a healthy democracy. But it needs to pay its way by being useful, not by patting itself on the back.

Thanks for reading.


Published by

Brad Rourke

Executive editor of issue guides and program officer at the Kettering Foundation.

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