Send In The Clowns

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I recently read, “Syrian Jihad”, by Charles Lister.  I had no idea of the complexity of this snarl, the people involved and who’s side anybody was on.  It is a fascinating if gory story.  Resulting refugee treks have upset political balances all over the world and, if there is a resolution to be had, it is far from clear.  Lister relates day by day, month by month detail surrounding unfolding events in Syria ending in 2015 with everything very much unsettled.

Did you know that there are 1500 separate Jihadi organizations alternately collaborating and killing each other?  It’s a four cornered game between ISIS, Jihad, Assad and Al-Qaeda with various collaboration and conflict combinations depending on when and where you are.

While snatches of Syrian war information can be found on the internet, a coherent picture updating Lister’s account is nowhere to be found.  One of the reasons may be discovered from Googling ‘foreign news bureaus’. Here is a sampling:

  1. Theforeign desk in transition – Columbia Journalism Review

http://www.cjr.org/analysis/the_foreign_desk_in_transition.phpPerhaps the best answer is, it’s a piece of the hybrid that is foreign news … least 20 US newspapers and other media outlets eliminated all their foreign bureaus, …

  1. Loneliness at theForeign ‘Bureau‘ – Columbia Journalism Review

http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/loneliness_at_the_foreign_bureau.phpApr 23, 2012  The Washington Post has 16 foreign “bureaus,” and 12 of them consist of just a single reporter, according to thenewspaper’s website. The four …

  1. McClatchy Expected To CloseForeign Bureaus By End Of Year

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mcclatchy-foreign-bureaus_us_5617cbf9e4b0082030a20b20Oct 9, 2015  “We’re shutting off an important source of news and analysis at a time … to close its foreign bureaus by the end of 2015, according to sources …

  1. McClatchy ClosingForeign Bureaus Amid Reorganization In 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mcclatchy-closing-foreign-bureaus_us_561bbf30e4b0dbb8000f1f0bOct 12, 2015  The newspaper chain is shifting its focus to regional and political news. … newspaper chain will shutter its remaining fourforeign bureaus as its …

  1. As LegacyNews Outlets Retreat, Who Will Be There to Report on 

http://niemanreports.org/articles/as-legacy-news-outlets-retreat-who-will-be-there-to-report-on-the-world/Dec 11, 2014  The Los Angeles Times has cut its foreign bureaus from 22 in 2004 to 10 today. Network TV news coverage is also in retreat. According to …

  1. BrokenNews: How To Save International Bureaus – Media Diversified

https://mediadiversified.org/2015/06/02/broken-news-how-to-save-international-bureaus/Jun 2, 2015  As foreign bureaus continue to decrease and downsize across the world, it is time to change the way international news is reported – not only …

 

This may explain why TV news spends the entire day covering the same ‘news’ story often having to do with some alleged transgression against political correctness if there is no tornado, flood, hurricane, demonstration, or 24 inch snowstorm available that day. Now we have discovered that the exalted group dubbed, ‘Millennials’ gets all their news from Facebook.  A check of todays “Trending” topics reveals:

 

TRENDING

Penis Transplant: 1st Transplant in the US Performed at Massachusetts General Hospital

Ben Carson: Former GOP Candidate Names Potential Vice President Nominees for Donald Trump

Hubble: Images Show ‘One of the Closest Encounters’ Between a Comet and Earth, NASA Says

Donald Trump: GOP Presidential Candidate Calls Sen. Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ in Interview

Sadiq Khan: US Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Criticizes London Mayor

Vaquita Porpoise: World’s Smallest Porpoise Species Faces Imminent Extinction, Reports Say

Type 2 Diabetes: Lund University Researchers Study Genetic Link Between Melatonin and Insulin Inhibition

Anacortes, Washington: Authorities Clear Railroad Tracks of Protestors, Arrest 52 Climate Activists

Big Bang: Researchers Say Blue Galaxy Could Hold Clues to Cosmological Origin Model

West Englewood, Chicago: Police Search for 12-Year Old Girl Missing for 2 Weeks

Not to detract from these tasty little vignettes of useful knowledge and human interest, but there are actual problems that we could use some enlightening on if we want to walk into a polling booth next November with anything other than a few bumper sticker messages on our mind.

There is, of course, the aforementioned Syria generating chaos well beyond its borders.  Solutions to our stultifying less than two percent economic growth over the last seven years would be nice to consider.  Then there is a military shrinking to pre-world war II levels with half the equipment kept operating by cannibalizing parts off the other half.  What if Russia or China…..naw, they wouldn’t would they?

This may be too harsh an awakening for our little millennial tulips fresh out of their educational Alice-in-Wonderland cocoons to absorb.  But then, those who can handle the ‘micro-aggressions’ of real life might even find jobs although they probably won’t be related to anything they studied in school.  Eventually they will find the real meaning of ‘authentic’.

For those who are too self-absorbed to wake the hell up, there’s  Steven Sondheim’s lyrics from the 70’s;

“Isn’t it rich
Are we a pair
Me at last on the ground
You in midair
Send in the clowns”

Oh, you say they are already here?

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