May 18th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Would you notice if your daily newspaper disappeared?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There are plenty of contenders, but San Francisco might become the first major American city without a daily newspaper. The San Francisco Chronicle continues to lay off staffers in an attempt to stay afloat. The city's mayor, Gavin Newsom tells the British magazine The Economist that if the newspaper does disappear, "People under 30 won't even notice."

The mayor's office later clarified those comments, saying Newsom was talking about the physical version of the paper; and that lots of young people get their news online, like on the San Francisco Chronicle's web site.

And that's exactly the point. The internet and the recession are threatening the survival of newspapers around the country. As they see fewer advertising dollars coming in, more personnel including reporters get laid off.

Several cities have already lost the print versions of a daily newspaper; like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Denver's Rocky Mountain News. And the health of even larger newspapers - including The New York Times - has been called into question.

The Economist asks whether it matters if the daily newspaper is killed. After all, technological change has destroyed lots of popular products, and we've survived. But news isn't just a product; in a democracy, the press exists to investigate and criticize the government.

And local newspapers are the best source of aggressive reporting on local issue - school boards, municipal courts, city councils and the like.

Nonetheless, the end of the daily newspaper wouldn't necessarily mean the end of news organizations. Instead they'll have to find a business model that works online. Right now, most online news content is free. That doesn't pay the bills either.

Here’s my question to you: Would you notice if your daily newspaper disappeared?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Journalism • News Media
May 18th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Time for Pelsoi to step down as House Speaker?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The pressure is mounting on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when it comes to the debate over torture - what she knew and when she knew it. Top Republicans are calling on the Speaker to come clean about all this and either apologize or possibly lose her leadership post.

Newt Gingrich says Pelosi has "defamed everyone" in the intelligence community by claiming they misled her. He says he can't see how Pelosi can serve as speaker if it turns out she lied about national security to Congress and to the whole country.

House Minority Leader John Boehner says that if Pelosi is accusing the CIA of lying or misleading Congress, she could come forward with the evidence so these officials can be prosecuted. If not, Boehner says she should apologize to the intelligence community.

CIA Director Leon Panetta weighed in on all this last week and challenged Pelosi - saying it's not the agency's "policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values."

Gingrich suggests that Panetta's comments put "strong, clear pressure" on the House to start a formal investigation of the speaker - who is third in line to be president.

Meanwhile, Pelosi responded to Panetta by shifting her criticism from the CIA to the Bush administration. She also continues to insist she was briefed on interrogation techniques only once and that she was told the techniques weren't being used.

But critics say Pelosi was fully briefed on waterboarding in 2002 and 2003.

Here’s my question to you: Is it time for Nancy Pelsoi to step down as Speaker of the House?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


May 18th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Complete investigation of Bush admin and Iraq war inevitable?


Pictured here is one of multiple cover sheets for intelligence briefings prepared for Defense Sec. Rumsfeld in the early days of the Iraq war. The sheets featured biblical quotes and battle images. (COURTESY: GQ MAGAZINE)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been almost four months since former President Bush left office, and many would like to leave his administration in the past. But that may not be possible since there's a constant dripping of information about what really went on during those eight years.

The latest comes by way of GQ Magazine, which has released a series of cover sheets for intelligence reports written for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon brass during the early days of the Iraq war.

They featured "triumphant, color images" like soldiers praying or in action or a tank at sunset along with Biblical passages. For example: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

Besides the obvious question of appropriateness, what if these covers had leaked out at the time? The Muslim world could have interpreted the war as a religiously-driven battle against Islam. You think they were upset about Abu Ghraib?

But the general who thought up the covers told anyone that complained about them that his seniors, including Rumsfeld and President Bush, appreciated them. In fact, GQ says Rumsfeld hand-delivered many of these reports to President Bush.

The magazine suggests the mixing of Crusades-like messages with war imagery might not have been Rumsfeld's style - but he likely saw it as a way to connect with the deeply religious President Bush.

This is just another in a growing list of questions, and just like torture and the reasons for invading Iraq, they don't seem to be going away.

Here’s my question to you: Is a complete investigation of the Bush administration and the Iraq war becoming inevitable?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Bush Administration • War in Iraq