by Geov Parrish
This is the eighth year that I’ve looked at the most overhyped and under- reported stories of the year. I began compiling the list in 1996 with the perception that the U.S. public, instead of getting the information it needed to make informed decisions in a democracy, was being distracted with an endless barrage of feel-good trivia and official spin.
Every year since, it's gotten worse, and the gulf between what people in this country and those elsewhere in the world are told about the same events has continued to widen. But the year 2004 will be a particularly critical one in our nation’s, and world’s, modern history. The chain of events set in motion by the U.S. invasion of Iraq is likely to take a definitive turn; beyond that, the American public will be asked to pass judgment on four years’ performance of one of the most radical regimes in our country’s history. Understanding what’s actually happening has never been more important -- and spinmeisters’ efforts to obscure what’s actually happening will be stronger and more technologically savvy than ever. It’s time to get smart.
To that end, enter 2004 with our annual list of the past year’s most overhyped and underreported -- and misreported -- stories. Remember, they told us they’d lie to us. They were telling the truth.
Most Overrated Stories of the Year
Saving Jessica Lynch
Other lowlights of the year:
Arnold Schwarzenegger runs for governor.
Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant.
The economic recovery.
The Year's Most Important Underreported Stories
The Bush tax cuts have flopped.
Corporate corruption continues to run amok.
Health care in America is in crisis.
Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton.
The Taliban is making a comeback.
The peace movement was right -- and still is -- about Iraq.
The catastrophe that has been the U.S. administration of Iraq.
Privatization and corporate looting of Iraq.
Israel’s apartheid wall.
Africa, Africa, Africa.
The collapse of the “Washington consensus.”
Bush v. Constitution