While the media is still playing it safe when it comes to the gap between congress and those who determine its membership, there’s been a tectonic shift on two less immediate fronts.
This morning on CNN an astronaut was seen “running the Boston marathon” in space; and the weather reporter expressed a concern for coastal erosion in Rhode Island in the wake of the latest nor’easter.
Neither of these events has been given airtime by chance. Global warming is now recognized as a worthy subject of reporting, with big companies vying for first place as saviors. And to show that we’ll someday be doing everyday things in space, a FedEx ad shows it picking up packages on the moon and whisks them to their earthly destination, to the relief of lunar residents.
Not long ago, someone associated with NASA, I think it was Jim Hansen, appearing on Democracy Now, told Amy Goodman that plans were in the works to eventually move populations to space, the powers that be having recognized that “we’re not going to make it here on earth”.
I didn’t focus on the remark until t turned out that a book I’d ordered out of curiosity for the title: “The Survival Imperative” by William E. Burrows, was about protecting earth from stray space object AND the program to colonize space to ensure our continued survival.
And yet, the Don Imus story took up about half of every news program for an entire week, including the Sunday talk shows. I know the golden rule for journalists is that what’s happening here today is more newsworthy than what might happen in the future on the moon. But as a result, it’s Madison Avenue that tells us what the future holds. I guess the powers that be think we’ll judge our failure to make it on earth less harshly that way: for them, only failure in Iraq is unacceptable.
P.S. Last night’s PBS special “America at the Crossroads” was worth watching even though it ran from 9 pm to almost 11. Hosted by Bob MacNeill of MacNeill/Lehrer fame, it is a markedly better attempt to provide a context for Al Queda’s attacks against the West than was the special by Christian Amanpour on CNN a few months ago, even though they used some of the same materials. The second installment is tonight at the same time. Hopefully it will spell out the choices we face at the crossroads.