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Summit Up

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column blowing up asteroids.

We’ve never been what we like to call some of our friends: “vidiots,” or prone to whiling away far too many hours in front of a TV playing video games. Jesus changed all that.

At least that’s who we’re blaming, because for Christmas, a family member got us an Atari system. Well, it’s not like the one you might have had 20 years ago. It’s actually just a joystick and wires that plug into the TV.

In a testament to how much technology has improved, and shrunk, 10 whole classic Atari games can now fit in the base of a joystick. No more need for that huge console and cartridges to plug into it.

So there we were, New Year’s Eve with nothing else to do (we resolved this year to have some control over where we would wake up New Year’s Day), and we plugged in the Atari. We went through Asteroids, Breakout, Adventure, Missile Command and Centipede, and before we knew it, it was 2004.

Who needs high-definition graphics to get addicted anyway?

We’d love to continue chatting today, but the computer needs a whooping in Pong.

***

We like to keep our professional peers honest, so, toward that end we’d like to share with you the “P.U.-Litzer Prizes for 2003.” These not-so-heart-warming stories of media mediocrity were compiled and selected by Norman Solomon and can be found on www.

dissidentvoice.org. The winners are:

n Media Mogul of the Year – Lowry Mays, CEO of Clear Channel

While some broadcasters care about their programming, the CEO of America’s biggest radio company (with more than 1,200 stations) admits he cares only about the ads. The Clear Channel boss told Fortune magazine in March: “If anyone said we were in the radio business, it wouldn’t be someone from our company. We’re not in the business of providing news and information. We’re not in the business of providing well-researched music. We’re simply in the business of selling our customers’ products.”

n “The More You Watch, The Less You Know” Prize – Fox News Channel

According to a University of Maryland study, most Americans who get their news from commercial TV harbored at least one of three “misperceptions” about the Iraq war: that weapons of mass destruction had been discovered in Iraq, that evidence closely linking Iraq to Al Qaeda had been found, or that world opinion approved of the U.S. invasion. Fox News viewers were the most confused about key facts, with 80 percent embracing at least one of those misperceptions. The study found a correlation between being misinformed and being supportive of the war.

n “Clear It with the Pentagon” Award – CNN

A month after the invasion of Iraq began, CNN executive Eason Jordan admitted on his network’s “Reliable Sources” show (April 20) that CNN had allowed U.S. military officials to help screen its on-air analysts: “I went to the Pentagon myself several times before the war started and met with important people there and said, for instance – “At CNN, here are the generals we’re thinking of retaining to advise us on the air and off about the war’ – and we got a big thumbs-up on all of them. That was important.”

n “Coddling Donald” Prize – CBS’ Lesley Stahl, ABC’s Peter Jennings and others

On the day news broke about Saddam Hussein’s capture, Stahl and Jennings each interviewed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In step with their mainstream media colleagues, both failed to ask about Rumsfeld’s cordial 1983 meeting with Hussein in Baghdad on behalf of the Reagan administration that opened up strong diplomatic and military ties between the U.S. government and the dictator that lasted through seven years of his worst brutality.

n Military Groupie Prize – Katie Couric of NBC’s “Today” Show

“Well, Commander Thompson,” said Couric on April 3, in the midst of the invasion carnage, “thanks for talking with us at this very early hour out there. And I just want you to know, I think Navy SEALs rock.”

We just hope we never make the list.

***

It’s Friday and we’re out throwing snowballs at the sky …


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