Spin zone: The Iraq war was not the first one to be encouraged by sectors of the media. The Spanish-American War was set off when an explosion destroyed a U.S. warship while it was docked in Havana. Publisher William Randolph Hearst was itching for a fight with Spain. He sent hordes of reporters to Cuba to cover the explosion and within days was spinning the news to blame Spain. War against Spain was soon declared (Columbia Journalism Review, March/April).
Make videos, not war: Ava Lowery, 16, is a Methodist peace activist in Alexander City, Alabama. Rolling Stone magazine called her one of the great mavericks of 2006. Lowery makes homemade videos that juxtapose images from the Iraq war with popular music and provocative quotes (her Web site is www.peacetakescourage.com). One of her best-known videos is “WWJD?” which pairs the song “Jesus Loves Me” with images of grieving and wounded Iraqi children. (Chicago Tribune, April 4).
Party politics and piety: Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report is skeptical that Democrats can win over evangelical voters by using the right language. The Democrats had minimal impact on white evangelical voters in 2006, Rothenberg says. White evangelicals are more likely to change the Republican Party than to change parties (Roll Call, March 22).
Flat (and cool) earth society: In response to recent warnings by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) about the consequences of greenhouse-gas emissions, the conservative American Enterprise Institute is offering a $10,000 prize to scientists and economists who write articles which call attention to weaknesses of the IPCC report. In reporting this news, the Chronicle of Higher Education (March 2) said it is eagerly awaiting a patron who will offer “a reward for papers that discredit the spherical-earth theories that have been circulating for the past millennium or so.”
Casualties of war: Nearly half of the 3,000 members of the U.S. military who have died in Iraq have come from towns with fewer than 25,000 residents, and one in five have come from towns with fewer than 5,000 residents. Nearly three-fourths of the casualties are from towns where the per capita income is below the national average, and more than half come from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty is above the national average (Chicago Tribune, February 20).