Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006

Reporters Without Borders just came out with their annual global freedom of press rankings, and it's not looking good for the Ol' US of A which slipped into a tie for 53rd with Botswana, Croatia, and Tonga. Upon hearing the news, The Tonga Kid phoned Sergeant Slaughter, to gauge his interest in forming a tag team for the WWE Senior Tour. For the third year in a row, the lads and lasses in Ireland were ranked # 1. Fair play to ye. Also of note to some VTK readers:

8. Switzerland
10. Portugal *
14. Belgium
16. Canada
35. Bulgaria
50. Israel
58. Hong Kong
70. Burkina Faso
76. Argentina
115. Venezuela **
119. USA (extra-territorial)
132. Mexico
168. North Korea (ranked the worst)

* While Portugal should be commended for jumping 13 spots to a tie for 10th, it should be noted that they slipped to 168th place in the freedom of non-dirty soccer players index.
** Venezuela dropped to 115th, though RWB notes in their regional breakdown that "the consequences of the 'media war' between supporters and opponents of president Hugo Chavez persist". The rankings are based on questionnaires "sent to partner organisations of Reporters Without Borders (14 freedom of expression groups in five continents) and its 130 correspondents around the world, as well as to journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists." And the media has a long-standing war with Chavez, so you have to wonder how objective their questionnaires are. I don't say that to blindly defend Chavez' gov't, but it's certainly a consideration. That's probably an issue in many other countries' media's responses as well. Are the US media respondents exagerrating their scores as retaliation for 6 years of Bush Administration media bullying? Dunno.

This is unrelated, but it's about politics, I don't feel like doing a separate post for it, and it's certainly worth mentioning. Daily Kos is reporting (circa Washington Post) that, due to some "computer glitch", George "Welcome to America, Macaca" Allen's opponent's name got cut off on the electronic ballot and there isn't time to rectify it. So, voters in Northern Virginia will now be left to decide between George Allen, who is desperately trying to lose this election by being an enormous ass, and James H. "Jim" instead of James H. "Jim" Webb. The Webb campaign is "uhappy" about it but doesn't think it can be "remedied" by election time. Are you fucking kidding me? What? Put aside all the outrageousness and obvious illegality of this for a second. Here's a quick little solution I came up with: how's about dropping the 5 character "Jim" in favor of your 4 character last name. Seems like that would be the more important name to have on the ballot.

[CLARIFICATION UPDATE from the Post article: Although the problem creates some voter confusion, it will not cause votes to be cast incorrectly, election officials emphasized. The error shows up only on the summary page, where voters are asked to review their selections before hitting the button to cast their votes. Webb's full name appears on the page where voters choose for whom to vote.]

And definitely unrelated but notable nonetheless is the revelation that Troy Polamalu has 3 legs. Certainly explains why he covers more ground than anyone since Rod Woodson in his prime.


Kristin said...

Famous People I've Seen in Airports Pt. 2....

The Place:Panama City Beach Florida Airport
The Time: November 2004

I was again traveling with a bunch of people in the spring break industry when all the guys in our group starting shrieking in delight because Sergeant Slaughter was sitting in the waiting areas at one of the gates drinking a coffee. How did we know it was Sergeant Slaughter you ask? Well, he was fully attired in his WWF Sergeant Slaughter outfit. He was hard to miss. I found it hard to believe that he got away with impersonating a police officer post-911 but he did. The airline probably figured he was better than an air marshall?

Dan said...

I'm confused. Was he wearing tights? Also, Sgt. Slaughter was military personnel, not a police officer. Maybe it wasn't him. Then again, it was Florida. That's where many of them live. Hulk Hogan and Randy Macho Man Savage both lived in Clearwater when I was there, but I never saw them. Nor did I see Evil Kneivel, despite hanging out in the bar that he reportedly went to on a regular basis.

Dewy24 said...

Um. I think Venezuela's poor freedom of the press ranking has more to do with Chavez's law mandating 20 to 40 months imprisonment for criticizing the government than U.S. media bias.


of course that's just Human Rights Watch talking...

But what I'm more concerned with is VTK's media bias against Portugal. Where else would a team have the nads viciously stopped yet be called "dirty" themselves? Italy advanced on a simulation of a foul against Australia, then said nasty things about Zidane's mother and sister in the final but they aren't called "dirty" in these lofty pages. Argentina throws a pathetic fit after losing fair and square against Germany yet aren't called "dirty". But god forbid VTK criticize Argentina. There is nothing less at stake here than VTK's journalistic credibility.

And speaking of journalistic credibility where is the Nashville spanking video? I was there but I'd still like to relive it.

Dan said...

Dewy, your blind, uncritical worship of Human Rights Watch and your refusal to recognize the major media in Venezuela as a very partisan and involved anti-Chavez movement has grown tiresome. And I said their media might be biased in judging the freedom of press in Venezuela, not the US media is being biased in judging the FoP in Venezuela. Reporters Without Borders is not a US media organization. Get the facts straight, kid. But this from a man who refuses to admit that Portugal played dirty in the World Cup. How can you argue with someone like this.

I have yet to get my hands on the infamous spanking video, but here is a recreation of the event:


Dewy24 said...

All I'm saying is that Portugal has been judged much more harshly than others because they had the gall to kick England's ass. The English desperately need to create a narrative where Portugal could only rely on dirty tricks to defeat a country as mighty as England (twice in a row since Euro 2004). Don't fall for it. It's pure crap and I'm sick of it. Next thing you'll tell me Kenny Rogers is a dirty cheater (which I would agree with and would be nice to find some completely unrelated common ground).

I must remember this rhetorical device of calling people "kid" to strengthen my argument. It's devastatingly effective. I feel so humbled and I've almost forgotten how unclear your possessive antecedents were.

Dan said...

Let the record show that my criticism of Portugal began after watching them play 4 matches and before watching them play England, against whom I traditionally root. They are the Kenny Rogers of international soccer.

And forgive me for not clarifying my possessive antecedents. I forgot that I was dealing with someone incapable of remembering the content of the previous sentence (note: the sentence previous to this one was about possessive antecedents).

Kristin said...

No - it was definitely Sgt. Slaughter. He was wearing the hat, a camo t-shirt and had the glossy eyed stare of a fallen celeb.

PS: Did you watch "Lost"? I'm seriously about to start a Wednesday night volley ball league to ween myself off that show - it's terrible. They are giving us slightly more each week but didn't the preview for next week look like they are introducing Aliens...if this whole thing has an alien angle - I'm totally done with this show. I hate shows about aliens and space exploration.

Dan said...

I just watched it online but I didn't see the preview for next week with the aliens or whatever. I hate when they get into the extra-normal stuff like the magic black cloud of energy or whatever that thing was in the first season which they haven't really explained fully. I'm getting a little irritated by the Others trying to convince us that they're good guys and then acting like assholes. They still haven't fleshed out the whole Widmore/Widmore's daughter story line. Maybe the Others are like freedom fighters against Widmore.