Mason in the News

Posted: January 4, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Thursday, Dec. 20, Christian Science Monitor

Can Religion Improve Peace Prospects in the Middle East?

“For some 60 years, attempts to craft a lasting peace for the Holy Land have fallen woefully short. As a new round of Israeli-Palestinian talks gets under way, some leaders from the region are insisting that it’s time to include a religious dimension in the peace process. ‘I’d like to see religious leadership engage in joint activities that have a profound spiritual and emotional impact on both sides — through the use of ritual and teaching and ethical gestures to each community,’ says Marc Gopin, director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. To compete with the voices of religious extremists, Gopin adds, they should mount sophisticated advertising campaigns that make religious justifications for the three religions moving forward together, and for making peace.”

Sunday, Dec. 23, New York Times

As I Was Saying Before I Left Office

“The political fallout of the Great Depression ended Herbert Hoover’s presidency in 1932, but like so many ex-presidents who dream of running or governing again, the political bug was hardly out of his system. The emergence of former presidents as meddlers in modern politics is a growing trend. ‘Most ex-presidents are really ambivalent; it’s a great load off their shoulders, but they’re also on the outside looking in, and they really miss it,’ said James Pfiffner, a professor of public policy at George Mason University. ‘And the men who want to succeed the president — they really feel how much these leaders loom large.’”

Sunday, Dec. 30, Chicago Tribune

Name That Bank Robber

“For years the FBI has begun investigations into serial bank robbers by coining colorful ‘bandit’ titles. Based on everything from the banks’ location to the suspect’s modus operandi, the monikers are intended to help investigators track suspects while drumming up media attention. But the bureau says the age-old practice of nicknames remains valuable in attracting tips from the public, which have led to the arrest of at least six bank robbery suspects around Chicago this year. Though authorities credit nicknames with attracting public interest that helps solve crimes, the practice also venerates serial felons in the public eye, said Jon Gould, director of the Center for Justice, Law and Society at George Mason University. ‘It kind of puts bank robbers into the realm of pop culture, making them mini-celebrities like Bonnie and Clyde,’ Gould said. ‘We have a tendency of glorifying them rather than portraying them as the criminals that they are.’”

Sunday, Dec. 30, Newsday

Days Before Caucus, Other Candidates Reconsidered

“With no sitting president or vice president on the ballot, this is quite simply the most wide-open election in half a century. What happened? A restless and war-weary public started giving other candidates a fresh look — perhaps none more than Barack Obama, a trailblazer in his own right, as the first African American to be within reach of a major party nomination. ‘There have been women who have run before. There have been African Americans who have run before, but never have we had a circumstance where a woman or an African American could actually win the nomination, and that, more than anything else, makes this historic,’ said Michael Fauntroy, a professor at George Mason University who has studied African American voting.”

Wednesday, Jan. 2, CNN Headline News

Late Night Talk Show Revival

Robert Lichter, professor of communication, was interviewed on CNN Headline News about the situation surrounding the Writer’s Guild strike and the comeback of late-night talk shows. David Letterman and Craig Ferguson recently signed deals with the Writer’s Guild, allowing both hosts to go on with their writing teams intact. “It’s a huge advantage over Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and Jimmy Kimmel, who will be left writerless,” Lichter said. “They come for the guests, but they stay for the host. And this is a real opportunity for Jay Leno to show how good he is, if he really deserved to inherit Johnny’s show. And you know, he’s giving over this show in a year and riding off into the sunset. He doesn’t want to be the guy who jumps from the sinking ship that he helped to sink. So I think this is really an opportunity for Jay Leno to really show what he’s made of.”

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