July 10, 2012 |
SEOUL - More than five months into a bitter strike, hundreds of employees at leading South Korean broadcasters are still off the job, not because of bread-and-butter issues such as pay or job security, but what they regard as heavy-handed government efforts to silence them. Hailed until recently as a beacon of free press in Asia, South Korea is now facing what broadcast journalists complain is the worst media climate since the country's democratization in the 1980s. Editorial employees of Munhwa Broadcasting Corp., or MBC, walked out Jan. 30 and were followed by journalists at the Korea Broadcasting System, or KBS, the news-only cable channel YTN, and the publicly funded news agency Yonhap.
July 3, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is putting a positive spin on a new peace plan for Syria agreed to over the weekend in Geneva by the Syria Action Group, which comprises the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council as well as Turkey and Arab representatives. We hope her optimism is justified, but Russia continues to send maddeningly mixed signals about whether it recognizes that the time has come for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. Already a humanitarian tragedy, the civil war in Syria now threatens to spill into international conflict.
July 1, 2012
A photo of a man building a house may look exactly like a picture of him making repairs or one of him taking the place apart brick by brick, so it can be hard to tell whether a snapshot shows the beginning, the middle or the end of a major project. And so it is with this year's state budget: Are we watching California being put back together or witnessing its demolition? A generation of Californians has lived through several spasms of financial restructuring, some of which hit us from outside, some of which we created ourselves.
June 24, 2012 |
Cronkite Douglas Brinkley Harper: 820 pp., $34.99 Walter Cronkite was not inclined to introspection, and historian Douglas Brinkley emulates his subject in this thorough biography of the news broadcaster who in 1972 was declared "The Most Trusted Man in America. " Brinkley's lengthy narrative spends as much time on Cronkite's stints as a paperboy as on his father's alcoholism and his parents' divorce. The author seems more interested in the ins and outs of Cronkite's strained professional relationship with Dan Rather than in his 65-year marriage - though smart, sardonic Betsy Cronkite gets her due as the woman who could cut Walter down to size.
June 13, 2012
Vladimir Putin isn't Josef Stalin; he isn't even Leonid Brezhnev. But the once, present and future Russian president's crackdown on dissent poses a challenge for the United States familiar to students of the Cold War: How to press for greater openness in Russia while engaging with it on important international issues? The answer now, as it was then, is not to allow the need for cooperation to stifle support for democracy. Putin, the former KGB functionary who was elected president for the third time in March - after temporarily retreating to the office of prime minister - was outraged last month when sometimes violent demonstrations overshadowed his inauguration.
June 7, 2012
There are reasons not to extract too many lessons from Gov. Scott Walker's convincing victory in the Wisconsin recall election Tuesday. For one thing, he faced a weak opponent in Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and for another, he vastly outspent Barrett to win by 7 percentage points. Most important, voters seemed to understand that a recall wasn't the right remedy for Walker's actions. As California was forced to learn the hard way, the recall is a better device for removing a governor who has engaged in misconduct than for punishing one over policy disagreements.
May 20, 2012
As the United States finally begins to wind down its military presence in Afghanistan, is the Obama administration poised to replicate that intervention in Yemen? The administration insists it has no such plans, but it has been evident for months that it regards the Yemen-based group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as the most dangerous incubator of terrorist plots directed at America. And it is acting on that conviction. This week The Times reported that U.S. special operations troops, which were withdrawn from Yemen last year amid political turmoil in that country, have returned and are providing technical assistance to Yemeni forces.
April 28, 2012
A Times editorial on Wednesday called on Congress to shore up Social Security quickly, as its looming insolvency would only get more difficult to address as time dragged on. But Business columnist Michael Hiltzik, in a piece that ran the same day , wrote that Social Security benefits should be expanded. Hiltzik pointed out that the Social Security Trust Fund ran a large surplus last year. Noting the difference in outlook between the two articles, reader Bob Murtha of Santa Maria wrote: "Times editorial board members and Hiltzik need to get together to compare notes.