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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 28, 2005 / 25 Tishrei, 5766

Guessing the news

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Boo.

That about sums up my response to the past several weeks' guessing game regarding the tsunami in a thimble popularly known as Plamegate. Or Rove-a-Rama. Or Miller Time.

The hysteria about who leaked what to whom, when or where has all the elements of a non-story. That is, factually, there is no news. We don't know anything. It ain't news until "it" — whatever "it" is — happens. Or so it once was.

These days nothing — not even "Nothing" — thwarts the ravenous media beast. By the time this gets read, we may know everything. Or not. Some in the Bush administration may be indicted for leaking the name of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame/Wilson. Or not.

In the meantime, the media have been left to ruminate. To surmise, to wonder, to speculate. In Wednesday's "Hardball Briefing" e-mail, for instance, the evening's program was promoted this way:

"Another anxious day inside the Beltway as the chattering class, punditocracy and assorted political prognosticators attempt to divine the outcome of Patrick Fitzgerald's nearly two-year-old investigation into who outed CIA operative Valerie Plame/Wilson "

Note the operative verb: to divine.

The headline on Drudge that same day summed up the spirit of this so-called/alleged/possible scandal: "D.C. Guessing Game Reaches Fever Pitch"

And so it has been from Day One — a D.C. guessing game. Ask most "ordinary Americans," as the media call people leading normal lives beyond the Beltway, whether Karl Rove or Vice President Dick Cheney leaked the name of Valerie Plame/Wilson to New York Times reporter Judith Miller — and they're likely to say, "Yeah, a beer sounds good."

If pressed, they might remember something vaguely familiar about "that spy business" and say something like, "Well, dang, I have no idea. Reckon we'll have to wait and see, now, won't we?"

Not the 24/7 media, which make nature look bashful around a vacuum.

While true that the media are not, in fact, a monolithic entity about which one can comfortably summarize, the industry's disparate parts function as an information ecosystem, nourishing and feeding upon one another along the food chain. It's hard to know where a story starts or stops — or who is accountable to whom — as a nugget of news travels with instaneity along television's circuitry or through the ethers of Blog.

The media don't cover the news. They hunt it down, beat it to death, resuscitate it, and beat it to death again. Television news programs aren't information outlets so much as guess-the-news game shows where "experts" analyze the unknown and pundits predict the unknowable. When there's nothing left to say, they enter the realm of fiction. "What if?" is the question that drives all fiction. The writer sits down before a blank page and asks herself, "What if this happened, what if that happened?" And the Muse begins spinning yarns with the threads of imagination.

Journalism, which traditionally seeks answers to who, what, when and where, serves a different Muse.OR IT USED TO. With the explosion of alternate media, including "citizen journalism," the lines between fiction and journalism have become perhaps irrevocably blurred.

Speculation is the new journalism. In the absence of facts, speculation may nourish curiosity, but it also distorts both perception and reality. The media can't be seen as separate from the events they cover, especially when coverage is itself a creation.

These fictionalized versions of non-events, first cousins to gossip, are not innocuous. After so much chatter, ideas are imprinted on the human psyche, opinions are formed. Guilt becomes presumptive.

And all the while, we opine about everything on the basis of nothing. As of Wednesday when the grand jury temporarily adjourned, no one knew whether indictments were forthcoming in the Plame matter, yet the television was buzzing with cheap talk, as it had been for days and weeks before.

We've never had greater access to information nor more difficulty discerning truth. Trying to glean what matters amidst the media cacophony is like panning for a nugget of gold in the Pacific.

All bodes ill for a free society in which democracy depends on a well-informed public. When journalists act like fiction writers, and media watchdogs bark at shadows — when truth and fiction are cut from the same cloth — we are in trouble.

The danger is that Americans exhausted by too much information will simply turn it off and leave the business of government to those who shout loudest.

Boo.

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