Mason in the News

Posted: June 20, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Friday, June 13, New York Times

Critics and News Executives Split Over Sexism in Clinton Coverage

“Angered by what they consider sexist news coverage of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, many women and erstwhile Clinton supporters are proposing boycotts of the cable networks, putting up videos on a ‘Media Hall of Shame,’ starting a national conversation about sexism and pushing Mrs. Clinton’s rival, Sen. Barack Obama, to address the matter. Starting in mid-December, 90 percent of comments about Mr. Obama on the three broadcast networks were positive, and 61 percent about Mrs. Clinton were positive, according to a study by Robert Lichter, a communications professor at George Mason University. But as Mr. Obama became the front-runner, things evened out. The study said that by the time Mrs. Clinton suspended her campaign on June 7, they were getting about the same amount of positive coverage, with Mr. Obama at 48 percent and Mrs. Clinton at 45 percent.”

Friday, June 13, the Sun (UK)

Sea Sonar ‘is a Threat’

“A shocking new report pinpoints a link between naval sonar soundings and whale and dolphin beachings. Professor Chris Parsons, of George Mason University in the U.S., said loud noises deafen the mammals and make them disorientated. He added: ‘This has progressed beyond the point of finding a smoking gun.’ Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society science officer Sarah Dolman said: ‘If we hope for them to survive we need to manage all threats, including but not limited to naval sonar.’”

Sunday, June 15, New York Times

Age Becomes the New Race and Gender

“This year’s campaign for president has provided an extended test of attitudes toward race and gender, two powerful and volatile forces in politics. Now a third is about to join that list: age. If elected, Sen. John McCain of Arizona would take office in January at the age of 72. No one has begun a first term in the White House that old. By contrast, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois would be 47, young indeed, though still four years older than John F. Kennedy was when he was inaugurated as the nation’s youngest elected president in 1961. ‘Age isn’t measured in purely chronological terms, I suspect,’ said Richard Norton Smith, a historian and a scholar-in-residence at George Mason University — and a former speechwriter for Bob Dole, who was 73 when he won the Republican nomination in 1996. ‘For example, I don’t think it was his physical age that doomed Bob Dole, as much as the perception that he belonged, for worse and better, to an earlier generation.’”

Sunday, June 15, New York Times

Malthus Redux: Is Doomsday Upon Us, Again?

“While Americans grumble about gasoline prices, food riots have seared Bangladesh, Egypt and African countries. In Haiti, they cost the prime minister his job. Rice-bowl countries like China, India and Indonesia have restricted exports and rice is shipped under armed guard. And again, Thomas Malthus, a British economist and demographer at the turn of the 19th century, is being recalled to duty. His basic theory was that populations, which grow geometrically, will inevitably outpace food production, which grows arithmetically. Famine would result. Tyler Cowen, a George Mason University economist, notes that global agriculture markets are notoriously unfree and foolishly managed. Rich countries subsidize farmers, but poor governments fix local grain prices or ban exports just when world prices rise — for example, less than 7 percent of the world’s rice crosses borders. Americans are attracted to Malthusian doom-saying, Dr. Cowen argues, ‘because it’s a pre-emptive way to hedge your fear. Prepare yourself for the worst, and you feel safer than when you’re optimistic.’”

Monday, June 16, Wall Street Journal

Smart Money: Three Home Value Drains to Avoid

“Just a few years ago, home buyers barely considered the impact of foreclosures on a home’s value. But as the rate of foreclosures climbs ever higher — the number of homes facing foreclosure in April rose 65 percent year over year, according to RealtyTrac — it’s now an undeniable part of the equation. A study found that each foreclosure within an eighth of a mile of a single-family home results in a 0.9 percent decline in the home’s value. Foreclosed homes often fall victim to neglect and vandalism, explains Stephen Fuller, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis. A concentration of foreclosed homes only magnifies the effect and undermines nearby property values, he says. Depending on the scale and duration of the problem and the lack of countervailing forces such as good schools or park land, the damage to a home’s resale price will likely be significant, says Fuller.”

Tuesday, June 17, Wall Street Journal

Alien Invasion: High-School Prom Lands in England, Causes a Bother

“Britain, the land of school uniforms, rigorous exams and ivy-covered school halls, is embracing an American invasion: the high-school prom. Many American adults cringe when they remember the unfortunate dresses and awkward dates from their own proms. Britons, meanwhile, are adopting the prom at its most traditional, with prom queens and kings and professional photographers favoring pastel backdrops. Proms in the U.S. began in the 1930s, the invention of teachers trying to help young people make the transition to adulthood, says Amy Best, a sociologist and expert on youth culture at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The dances largely fell out of fashion in the 1960s but came back in the 1980s and remain popular, she says.”

Wednesday, June 18, New York Times

Pentagon to Consult Academics on Security

“Eager to embrace eggheads and ideas, the Pentagon has started an ambitious and unusual program to recruit social scientists and direct the nation’s brainpower to combating security threats like the Chinese military, Iraq, terrorism and religious fundamentalism. ‘I am all in favor of having lots of researchers trying to figure out why terrorists want to kill Americans,’ said Hugh Gusterson, an anthropologist at George Mason University. ‘But how can you make sure you get a broad spectrum of opinion and find the best people? On both counts, I don’t think the Pentagon is the way to go.’ Mr. Gusterson is a founder of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, which was created because of a growing unease among scholars about cooperating with the Defense Department.”

Thursday, June 19, Washington Post

D.C. Region’s Foreclosure Rate Soars

“The Washington region now has one of the fastest-growing foreclosure rates in the nation, as 15,613 homes went into foreclosure during the one-year period ending in February, an analysis to be released today has found. The nation’s hardest-hit areas of Phoenix, Miami and San Francisco have a greater share of homes in foreclosure, but the sixfold increase in the Washington area tops that of any other region in the report, commissioned by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Freddie Mac. ‘While foreclosures were practically nonexistent in the Washington area 18 months ago, it’s now very prevalent, and we’re above the national average,’ said the report’s author, John McClain, deputy director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis.”

Write to at