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There’s something very scary about Time’s special “Earth Day
2000″

edition. It’s not the endless train of worried articles about world
population
growth, continuing resource depletion, deteriorating ecosystems and
shrinking biodiversity.

It’s not the fretting over the trash in the oceans. Not the whining
over the
land-swallowing sprawl of the suburbs. Not the relentlessly negative,
aren’t-we-humans-awful tone we’ve come to expect of special issues that
come
bearing cover lines that read “How to Save the Earth.”
It’s not the conscience-stricken, I’m-almost-ashamed-to-be-a-human
blather
of essayist-for-hire Roger Rosenblatt.

Not even the absurdity of enlisting journalist/scientist Leonardo
DiCaprio,
host of Earth Day 2000′s big celebration in Washington tomorrow
(Saturday),
to urge us to “Get Wise to Global Warming.” (Leo wants us to drive more
fuel-efficient cars, ride more buses and car pool — like he and other
celebrity environmentalists do when their limo drivers go on strike.)

No, the scariest thing about Time’s simpleminded Earth Day worryfest,
which
is more like a religious tract than an exercise in respectable
journalism,
is that it is going to be delivered free to the homes of several million

people who already subscribe to Time — without a warning label.

With hardly an exception, the editors were so busy sharing the
planet’s pain
and lionizing the enlightened humans who devote themselves to saving it,

they forgot to include a few things like perspective and balance.

They could have reminded everyone, as Ronald Bailey does in Reason’s
May cover story “Earth Day’s

Happy 30th Birthday,” of the hilarious predictions of apocalypse we were

hearing when Earth Day was first celebrated 30 years ago.

You remember 1970? When science class was taught by Woody Allen?

Paul Erlich was all over the media telling us 4 billion earthlings
would
soon die of starvation, including 65 million Americans. Magazines like
Time
and Life were quoting scientists who were warning that a new Ice Age was

coming and that urban dwellers would all need to wear gas masks to
survive.
Scientific American articles were predicting we’d be out of virtually
all
nonrenewable resources by the year 2000.

Didn’t happen that way. It turned out “Soylent Green” was just a dumb

Hollywood movie, not a documentary. As Bailey’s article shows, today
rivers
are cleaner, air is cleaner, world food production is up, population
growth
is slowing down, important resources are as plentiful as ever.

What the staff assembled for Time’s special issue doesn’t seem to
know — or
have the space to mention — is that rich, productive, smart societies
that
pollute less, use less land and bear fewer children. They also create
the
enormous wealth that spawns resource-saving technologies and gives lots
of people time to save huge hunks of the planet themselves (a la Ted
Turner,
owner of Montana).

This is the main point of Bailey’s long article, which predicts that
earth
and the clever people on it will be in even better shape 30 years from
now.
Time’s editors don’t have to believe anything Bailey says. But at least
they
could have found a few column inches to acknowledge that not everyone
really
believes, as Time’s editors, DiCaprio and crew apparently do, that “the
Earth is in pain.”

Covering the Big Three Newsweeklies

In U.S. News & World Report, John Leo’s weekly column “On
Society”
does an
excellent job of explaining why the general public is increasingly more
distrustful of newspaper reporters. It has nothing to do with accuracy,
he
says.

It’s because reporters tend to belong to — and reflect the values
and biases
of — “a broadly defined social and cultural elite” and “simply do not
share
political, religious or monetary values with the general population.”
Leo,
U.S. News’ in-house cultural conservative and long-time castigator of
the
idiocies of political correctness and multi-diversity, calls for real
diversity in the newsrooms — diversity of outlook, class, education and

values, not just race and gender.

U.S. News’ cover article on “Why Jesus Was
Killed”
talks with
scholars who say Christ was probably crucified more for political
reasons
than religious ones. He was a Jewish prophet, an ardent defender of
Jewish
law whose calls for reform threatened the status quo of Jewish leaders.

But he was given a public execution by the Romans because they wanted
to
send a clear message — “a public-service announcement” one scholar
calls
it — to the Passover crowds in Jerusalem who had so enthusiastically
received Christ and his message. “When the crowds began hailing Jesus as
a
messiah,” U.S. News’ Jeffrey Sheler writes, “Pilate moved swiftly and
ruthlessly to squelch a potential uprising.”

The nice rebound by the stock market earlier this week takes some of
the
edge off Newsweek’s cover story, “Is the Bull Market Really
Over?”

But last week’s disappearance of $2.1 trillion in value broke all kinds
of
records and finally gave lots of Old Economy folks the chance to say,
“See, we
told you the dot.com, high-tech bubble was going to pop.”

Of course, after you breathlessly describe the gory details of last
week’s
sudden and horrible bloodletting, you have to stop and remind everyone
that
the world has not really ended. Nasdaq’s value last Friday was 50
percent
higher than it was at the end of 1998. Still, as Allan Sloan writes,
last
week’s “nightmare shows how fragile a reed the market is.”

Time
also reports on the carnage on Wall Street and, though it is essentially

optimistic in the long term, is equally unable to pin down whether the
bear
market is just beginning or is already over. What does last week’s
dive
mean to the real economy? Not much, assures economist Laura D’Andrea
Tyson,
who wasn’t scared last weekend: “The real economy is in quite good
shape.”

Time “celebrates” the one-year anniversary of
Columbine,
which was yesterday, by taking a look at the inane things our
clueless
schools are doing to try to prevent another massacre. Whereas anti-gun
guru
Dave Kopel argues in The Weekly Standard’s cover package that the only sure
way to prevent future Columbines is to either get rid of all guns or arm

teachers, some schools are field-testing something called Mosaic-2000.

A “threat-assessment” program, it’s a battery of 42 questions — “Is
the
student harassed by peers? Has the student recently experienced
rejection?” — that is supposed to be able “to calculate rough odds on
whether
a child will turn violent.” It is one of a series of new
“mental-detectors”
designed by cops and shrinks to ferret out the potential killers drawing

stick figures with guns in third grade art class. A majority of parents
polled say they favor this program; their kids, 60 percent of whom
don’t
like it, and the ACLU aren’t so stupid. They and others think it’s a
dumb
and dangerous weapon to place in the hands of hysterical school
officials.
Time seems to agree.

Quick Reads

Too bad those protesters in Washington weren’t able to end the
existence of the
International Monetary Fund. The IMF’s demise would have made economist
Joseph Stiglitz’s fondest wish come true. Stiglitz, an ex-VP of the
World
Bank, tells the centrist-libs who read The New
Republic
what free-market
fiends have been trying to tell everyone for years: The IMF does more
harm
than good when it imposes its economic remedies on Third World countries
as
a condition of handing over bags of aid money. Stiglitz explains how the
IMF
made economic matters worse in both East Asia and Russia and rates it as

being staffed by arrogant, secretive, anti-democratic incompetents.

In the never-ending game of ranking this and that, Worth magazine
puts
together a list of America’s 50 best CEOs. Cover exec John Chambers of
high-flying Cisco took the No. 1 spot in a walk. The most “important
expression of his vision and skill”: Cisco’s ability to grow through
adaptation. No. 2 is Tim Koogle of Yahoo, followed by Steven Ballmer of
Microsoft.

This week the news media marked Earth Day and Columbine
anniversaries. Next
week we’ll have the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. People
magazine
gets a jump with its multi-part, photo-heavy look at how Vietnam and its
77
million people have changed since U.S. helicopters left Saigon’s
rooftops.

Along with an interview with North Vietnamese Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap,
who says
John McCain lied when he says he was ill-treated as a POW, People’s
special
all-Vietnam issue includes an article written by McCain. McCain says
he’s
made his peace with Vietnam and its people, but he still believes
America’s
“opposition to a regime that denies its people basic human rights was
and is
honorable.”

On a lighter note, a million copies of the debut issue of O, The
Oprah
Magazine
are flying off
America’s newsstands. Described as a women’s personal growth guide for
the
21st century, adorned with founder/editorial director Oprah Winfrey’s
cover
portrait, it addresses everything from health and fitness and
self-evaluation to home design, books and food.

It’s not the most sophisticated or edgiest women’s magazine on the
rack,
even if word-woman Peggy Noonan and soul-man Gary Zukav are regular
columnists. And it is so loaded with advice and self-help tips of the
material and spiritual (and silly) kind, it ought to be called “You go,
girls.” How long it’ll last, not even a professional magazine watcher
can
predict.

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