• U.S.

A Year of Mood Swings

2 minute read
Rebecca Winters

After 9/11, we were supposed to be a nation sobered up, turning from frivolous matters to the serious concerns of a dangerous world. Nobody foresaw American Idol. A look at what preoccupied us in ’02. –By Rebecca Winters


FEB. 15 Is Olympic judging rigged? A skating scandal leaves us wondering

JUNE 5 Newsmaking child abductions like that of Elizabeth Smart, 14, in Salt Lake City, Utah, fuel our fears of a (nonexistent) crime wave

JUNE 11 American Idol premieres, launching debate over Simon Cowell’s put-downs, e.g., “Who’s your teacher? Get a lawyer and sue her”

AUG. 30 World Series panic ends: Major League Baseball and its players seal a deal within hours of a strike deadline, saving season

DEC. 5 Trent Lott sets off an old-fashioned political scandal with his remarks for Strom’s birthday


JAN. 26 India’s test of a ballistic missile sparks fears of a nuclear confrontation with Pakistan

MARCH 21 The Pope says the church’s sex-abuse crisis casts “a dark shadow of suspicion” over all priests

APRIL 30 Bernie Ebbers resigns as CEO of WorldCom, further shaking investors’ confidence in the integrity of U.S. corporations

SEPT. 12 President Bush challenges the U.N. to force Iraq to disarm, or, he says, “action will be unavoidable”

OCT. 12 A powerful car bomb at a disco in Bali kills nearly 200, demonstrating that al-Qaeda is still alive and dangerous

OCT. 24 Police arrest two suspects in the Beltway sniper shootings, ending three weeks of terror in the Washington metro area

NOV. 12 Al-Jazeera broadcasts an audiotape said to be of Osama bin Laden’s voice. Uh-oh, he’s still alive

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