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News cycles sound recycled?

I wake up in the morning, turn on the radio and wait to hear of the latest outburst of violence somewhere. Then, maybe, the latest exchange of incivilities between President Bush and Senator Kerry. The news has a sameness about it that makes me wonder if we couldn't do with a standard newscast, leaving only the details to be filled in. It could go like this:

• [fill in number] of people were killed today in a roadside ambush/ suicide bombing/sniper attack in: [check one]

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• Iraq

• Afghanistan

• Pakistan

• Chechnya

• other

• Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, having been condemned by both the International Court and his own Supreme Court, announces that:

• he will start immediately on moving the Wall from Palestinian territory.

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• he won't budge an inch on the Wall.

• President Bush has again denied that his administration cooked the intelligence books to justify the invasion of Iraq. He spoke in response to a book by:

• John Dean.

• Bill Clinton.

• Richard Clarke.

• Conservative Republicans announced yesterday that they would not give up their fight for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. They predicted that Congress would act by:

• September

• October

in time to make it an election issue.

• New economic figures out today are showing:

• continuing improvement

• a slowdown in improvement according to a:

• Democratic spokesman.

• Republican spokesman.

• Well-informed sources say that Secretary of State Colin Powell:

• will

• will not

resign at the end of President Bush's current term.

• White House officials say that President Bush:

• will

• will not

accept the resignation of Vice President Cheney for health reasons.

• Finally, Vice President Cheney, in a moment of anger, called Senator Edwards a [fill in the blank, if you dare] .

Daniel Schorr is the senior news analyst for National Public Radio.


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