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December 16, 2005

'American journalism is obviously just entertainment now' — Robert Young Pelton

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Pelton burst on the scene in 1995 with the publication of his remarkable book, "The World's Most Dangerous Places."

It was filled with insider tips such as how, before you left home, to arrange to have your body transported back for burial.

Since that debut Pelton has continued his travels to the world's most frightening places.

Just this past January he was kidnapped by right-wing Columbian paramilitaries in the Darién Gap (a jungle along the Panama–Columbian border regarded as a no–man's land).

He and his two hiking companions were released unharmed after ten days.

That's him waving in the photo above, taken just after his release.

National Geographic Adventure's Nicole Davis interviewed Pelton shortly after he'd returned from that near–miss.

The quote headlining this post is from the current issue of Vice magazine, which I'm somehow subscribed to even though I never asked for it.

But it's free so why would I cause a kerfuffle?

The magazine's bizarre and surprising, often dumb, and occasionally has something of interest I hadn't seen anywhere else.

In the current issue a little feature entitled "Pelton Says..." adorns the bottom portion of a number of pages in the first part of the magazine.

Here's what he had to say on page 40:

    American entertainment is obviously just entertainment now.

    If you look at the basic ownership of the large groups, they're all owned by entertainment conglomerates that rely on advertising and ratings.

    But there is this whole new world of democratization of information, so you can look at blogs, or even email bulletins if you want to.

    If you're very selective, you can generate your own personal news coverage.

    But it's actually good to make a distinction between news and information sources.

    News is: "Plane Crashes, 50 Dead."

    Information is: "Ten Alive: Here Are Their Phone Numbers."

********************

Here's a link to Vice's interview with Pelton.

Quite provocative.

Tell you what: if you decide to read Pelton's book, make yourself really cozy and comfortable and get a nice cuppa and your favorite blankie.

You will feel so happy being safe and warm as you accompany him into unspeakably bad places that you will not be able to help feeling blessed as you look around at your surroundings.

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I sure did.

December 16, 2005 at 06:01 PM | Permalink


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