Actually, let’s not talk about sex.
No, this isn’t one of those cheap tricks like they used to pull back in High School. This is a conversation, and more than a little complaining, about the news.
Most of the news coverage I’ve seen today that isn’t about the Olympics in China has been the about the trivial non-story of John Edwards having had an affair. Big deal. Who really f’n cares? Yeah, cover it a bit, but there are other stories out there of far greater importance.
How about this one for a story:
Georgia (not the U.S. state) and Russia are shooting at each other. Tanks, planes and missiles are bouncing about and blowing up. And this isn’t something that’s just come out of the blue. This has been building and brewing for a while now. But you wouldn’t know that by the stellar coverage that our news has done. 90% of what I’ve followed of this story prior to this largest outbreak of hostilities has been on the BBC News services and the Australian Broadcasting Company (or, as I like to call them, the other ABC) and other net news sources.
This is what I hate the most about the news. The more corporate it becomes, the more that ratings and revenue become the driving force of their programming. Sex sells so it gets big play. Rumors and innuendo get raised eyebrows and perked ears so it gets big play. Georgia and Russia shooting at each other isn’t sexy and doesn’t sell headlines so, despite what it means to the world and what it’s slowly telling us about both Georgia and Russia right now, it’s a quick update story at best today.
Right now as I bounce through the XM stations: Fox News is talking about Edwards, CNN is talking about Edwards, CNN Headline News is talking about Edwards and BBC World Service is talking about the international AIDS conference that just ended. XM doesn’t have MSNBC in its line up, but Air America is simulcasting MSNBC’s Race for the White House. The hot topic? John Edwards. As I reverse that channel line up now after having spent the time to type the above; half are talking about the Olympics and the other half are talking with new peopleabout John Edwards.
This isn’t new. I know that. William Randolph Hearst used his influence and power to kill stories in his papers that he didn’t want printed for either personal or political reasons. He had stories covered and front paged that would sell papers and line his pockets. He also shaped opinion by having reviewers create false reviews of books or films that he didn’t want to succeed. The most famous example of that was his ordered attacks on Citizen Kane.
But it’s still frustrating. If what little I’ve heard of this silly story is true, this is already a dead story. The affair was apparently over and done with in 2006. The only thing that may make it an ongoing story is if the kid is his and even then it’s not an f’n wall to wall coverage type of story. Most of the wall to wall coverage news stories these days aren’t wall to wall coverage types of stories really. Many of them aren’t even news. More and more of the news is editorials, spins and rumor mongering for partisan purposes. It really sucks and it really doesn’t help the average News IQ of the country when the news business is working under the ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ model.
I’m more and more grateful that the net allows us to find news from sources all over the world even if we have to check the sources of the sources, but it’s still frustrating that we have to do that if we want to follow detailed news that goes beyond Obama, McCain, Iraq, the Olympics and sex stories. I’ve spent my whole life as a news junkie and it sure feels like the news business itself is making it harder and harder to follow actual news these days.