Mason in the News

Posted: October 24, 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, Oct. 17, ABC News: “20/20”

Your Dollars on the Line

Walter Williams, professor of economics, appeared on ABC’s “20/20” commenting on the economic crisis and the actions taken by the government to solve the problem. “They encouraged banks and other lending institutions to make loans to people that the banks and lending institutions themselves would not have done…All these things happened at the insistence of Congress…It’s very much like you see a building on fire, would you call the arsonist who created it to help you put it out? No, you wouldn’t. But we’re calling on Congress that created the problem to help us solve it…No company is too big to fail. Business failure is just as critical to a market system as business success. It tells people that you’re doing the wrong thing…We created a housing bubble, and it’s time for the bubble to break. That’s creating spontaneous order, that’s getting back to the normal state of affairs.”

Sunday, Oct. 19, Chicago Tribune

Candidates Guard Details about Their Health

“After a week of repeated requests from the Tribune for basic medical information on the two vice presidential candidates, their campaigns apparently were in rare agreement. No way, they said. The medical blackout from Biden and Palin highlights a blind spot in presidential politics. Most experts said that although candidates deserve some expectation of privacy, reasonable disclosure of major medical records is appropriate. Some analysts have proposed that a panel of independent doctors examine the full records of candidates, agreeing to respect privacy while disclosing any concerns that might affect the candidate’s fitness for office. One reason for candor is that history shows politicians often have covered up serious medical problems, said Richard Norton Smith, a presidential historian at George Mason University. ‘It’s part of the ether now that when you run for national office, you have an obligation to tell about not only your financial history, but your health history as well,’ Smith said.”

Sunday, Oct. 19, New York Times

Keeping Their Opinions to Themselves

“Bias is a tricky thing. None of us are objective. We like news that supports our views and dislike what may challenge them. In political coverage, the accusations are always that the reporter or publication has ideological or party bias. So, why is The Times coming under such relentless fire? The newspaper has run many interpretive articles in the news columns, increasing the opportunities for bias, real or perceived. ‘I wouldn’t want to be a journalist now,’ said S. Robert Lichter, a professor of communication at George Mason University who is tracking network television coverage this year. Lichter got a taste of what it feels like in July. He released a study concluding that Obama was faring worse than McCain on television news. Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, who had previously praised Lichter’s work as proving that the media was liberal, was incensed and rejected the study. ‘A study like yours gives the bad guys in the media ― and they are legion now ― protection,’ O’Reilly said.”

Sunday, Oct. 19, Washington Post

In Tough Times, Rethinking Wealth

“At a time when the magnitude of the nation’s economic decline has been staggering and panic-inducing, a quiet resolve is emerging in many middle-class families to take a step back and reconsider their lives in a spiritual or philosophical way, according to interviews with clergy, economists and residents. ‘I think this is what happens when people are threatened,’ said Stephen S. Fuller of George Mason University, an expert on the local economy, who compared the meltdown with a terrible car crash. ‘It’s a time for reflection, and there is a reordering of priorities that are pretty fundamental.’”

Wednesday, Oct. 22, New York Times

More Democrats Casting Early Ballots, Data Show

“With as many as one-third of voters expected to cast their ballots before Election Day, preliminary data from several key battleground states show more Democrats than Republicans have voted early. Significantly more Democrats than Republicans have cast ballots at this early stage in Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico and Ohio, according to data analyzed by The New York Times. Michael McDonald, a voting expert at George Mason University, who has examined early voting data in several states, said the data from North Carolina was stunning. ‘North Carolina, in particular, is off the charts,’ Mr. McDonald said. ‘This is outside of what we expected.’”

Wednesday, Oct. 22, USA Today

Early Voting a Boost for Dems

“Democrats are voting early in greater numbers than their Republican counterparts in several closely contested states, reversing a pattern that favored the GOP in past elections. ‘It looks good for Barack Obama right now,’ says Michael McDonald, an elections expert at George Mason University who tracks early voting patterns.”

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