Nancy Franklin's article in this week's New Yorker is a paean to PBS documentaries, which I do sometimes find admirable but not necessarily, you know, paean-worthy -- but I like what she says to start with:
One day in mid-April, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, still overseas, said, “To our viewers, here’s your chance to weigh in on the war in Iraq. Our Web question of the day is this: Where do you think Saddam Hussein is?” We were given three choices—hiding in Iraq, dead, left the country—and were encouraged to log on and vote with our fingers. Cable news has a habit of treating viewers like children on a long car trip, giving us diverting, time-killing games to keep us focussed on the TV instead of thinking our own thoughts or punching our little brother. Count the out-of-state license plates; tell us where you think Saddam Hussein is.