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Two Disparate Examples of Genuine Journalism

I consider it unwise to log on to the blog through my employer’s servers, so I need to make this a quick morning drive-by.

Recommendation 1: The Military Times has just come out with a multipart investigative series on the rampant use of psychiatric meds, often in dubious multi-drug combinations, in the military. Here’s the lede to the parent article, by Andrew Tilghman and Brendan McGarry:

At least one in six service members is on some form of psychiatric drug.

And many troops are taking more than one kind, mixing several pills in daily “cocktails” — for example, an antidepressant with an antipsychotic to prevent nightmares, plus an anti-epileptic to reduce headaches — despite minimal clinical research testing such combinations.

The drugs come with serious side effects: They can impair motor skills, reduce reaction times and generally make a war fighter less effective. Some double the risk for suicide, prompting doctors — and Congress — to question whether these drugs are connected to the rising rate of military suicides.

Other items in the series focus on possible connections between meds and suicides and use of drugs in war zones. The article I link to provides links to those.

Recommendation 2: In this week’s installment of the BBC World Service program "The Interview," Owen Bennett Jones grills Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat on the basis of Israel’s claims on Jerusalem and the (il)legality of settling Israeli citizens in East Jerusalem.

Just try to imagine hearing any of these questions on NPR, let alone network or cable news. No one apart from Amy Goodman or Laura Flanders addresses the flat-out international illegality (via the Geneva Conventions as reaffirmed in UN Security Council resolutions) of any Israeli settlements on occupied territory.

Bennett Jones respectfully but relentlessly compels Barkat to display the empty tautologies and cheap semantic twists underlying Israeli positions, as well as the ludicrousness by which even a secular Jew like Barkat must resort to the Bible as the basis for contemporary political claims on Jerusalem.

Not sure how long this will be available for on line listening. Downloadable mp3 is available (also possibly for a limited time) here.

I won’t be available to address comments, if any, today, but I hope you find these edifying.

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