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Archive for November 18th, 2010

Cable news reached an all new level of self-satire and hackery this week as various daytime “serious” anchors mindlessly repeated the phrase “touch my junk” over and over. Years of journalism training, internships and advanced education and they’re repeating “touch my junk” in the context of a videotaped airport security fracas.

And, speaking of journalistic integrity, “touch my junk” was featured between repeat airings of the brain-shrinkingly stupid commercial for abstinence featuring “The Situation” and Bristol Palin, both of whom are famous for their, you know, virginity. But good job, anyway, cable news people. Nailed it. You must be very proud.

Meanwhile, the TSA airport security segments on cable news have been prompted by two sources.

First, a blog entry by a would-be airline traveler who rightfully refused to submit to both a naked backscatter scan and, subsequently, a manual pat-down at San Diego International. The blogger videotaped much of the process and, as is heard on the video, exclaimed, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” The full description of this confrontation can be found at the blogger’s website.

Second, and not surprisingly, the broader TSA body scanner story has been egged on by a week’s worth of screamer headlines and “Big Sis” snark from Matt Drudge because, as Mark Halperin famously put it: “Drudge rules our world.” (“Big Sis” is Drudge’s too-clever nickname for DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.)

Before I get into why this is so twisted, I should mention here that, in theory, I actually agree with Drudge about the body scanners and some of the (often purely cosmetic) increased security measures at airports.

The full body scanners, also known as millimeter wave scanners, are an obvious and very creepy violation of privacy and, despite what Homeland Security and the TSA are suggesting, the freakish naked images can, in fact, be saved and leaked. Not surprisingly, there is also untold health issues involved with being bombarded from head to toe with radiation. And, oh yeah, the scanners really wouldn’t have stopped terrorists like the Underwear Bomber because the scanners aren’t very good at picking up “low-density materials like plastics, chemicals, and liquids — precisely what the underwear bomber had stuffed in his briefs,” according to Mother Jones magazine.

Ultimately, and for all of these reasons, vocal opposition to the naked body scanners transcends ideologies and political affiliations — lately at least (more on that presently). But the opposition isn’t making much of a dent in terms of rolling back this unconstitutional security measure: a new CBS poll released today shows that 81 percent of Americans favor the use of the scanners. Sad.

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