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Dead to the world

Television coverage of world affairs has been reduced to a diet of dissociated disasters and human interest. Now here is a plea for more serious news-gathering

By Suzanne Franks   August 2005

Bad News by Tom Fenton (HarperCollins, $25.95)

In May 2000, Mohammed Atta went to a US department of agriculture officer in Florida and tried to get a loan for a “crop dusting” scheme. He told the loan officer, Johnell Bryant, that he wanted to replace the six seats in a twin-engine aircraft with a chemical tank. She rejected the application as impractical. Atta meanwhile noticed an aerial photograph of Washington on her office wall and offered to buy it. He asked her to identify key landmarks: the White House and Pentagon. As they chatted, Atta asked if she had heard…

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