Wow is it ever great to be back on dry land. Don't get me wrong, I loved my vacation, had a great cruise. But Holland America needs to improve their news and information resources.
The only news channel on the ship's satellite was CNN. Fascinating to observe the death and funeral Pope John Paul II through the eyes of Christiane Amampour and the whole gang at Ted Turner's network. How many stories did I have to see referring to the Church's "Archaic" doctrine. Amampour called the late Pope's message "contradictory" because he "embraced AIDS victims while speaking out against the distribution of condoms"!
Then there is the printed word. Each morning we received an 8-page abridged version of The New York Times. Each article edited down to just give you the basic information you need. Plus, the back page had two Times editorials and an Op-Ed column. What was revelatory was that when reading a multi-page Times article chopped down to five paragraphs, the slanted opinion of the reporter sticks out like a sore thumb! There were many references to the Pope's "divisive" papacy and the church's problems in losing ground in Latin America or the USA. (The church DOUBLED its membership during JP2's papacy, DOUBLED!)
The article on Tom DeLay's family receiving salaries from his political action committee was pretty remarkable too. I kept looking in the 6 articles on the subject for any kind of context. If this was, in fact, illegal. Or, if it was against ethics rules. or, if there was even any evidence that they did not actually work for their salaries. This information was not to be found. All I got from the article was that Tom DeLay's wife and daughter received money from his PAC, and the accounting refers to the payments as "payroll". What's the big deal?
I was craving some sort of access to the internet so I could read some blogs and get some actual fact and context. Unfortunately, any significant amount of time connected to the internet on a cruise ship would cost more than the cruise itself!
It is understandable that on a cruise ship one cannot expect multiple choices with regard to cable news stations or news papers. I just wonder if the only channel were Fox News and the only newspaper distributed were The Wall Street Journal, would that be so bad? Would people have any complaints about not getting the whole story? Why is it an international assumption the CNN and the Times are the best sources of information?
My advice to anyone going on a cruise... stay away from the news. What you don't know won't hurt you. If anything MAJOR happens, you'll hear about it. Then when you are home, set aside about three hours to catch up.