Let’s Talk About Sex!!!

Posted: August 8, 2008 in News, Politics

   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.

  1. Sean says:

    I noticed a long time ago that usually international stuff gets very little play in the news most times because either the news management thinks(rightly so in too many cases that I’ve seen) most Americans don’t give a crap in what’s happening in the next state over, let alone a “furren” country. Now, why a story like the Edwards thing gets so much play, they figure it’ll get the righteous in the community in an uproar, and it’ll give Edwards’s opponents fodder. Now, personally, I don’t care who’s sleeping with who, who slept with who, and what pundits from all over the place have to say about it.

    The Russia/Georgia thing has me nervous. But I’m sure if I mention it on headset tomorrow in my camera tower, I’ll get the rest wondering what the Russians are doing in Atlanta.

  2. Micha says:

    Aren’t they at least worried about the real world immitating West Wing again?

  3. jjchandler says:

    I noticed that a long time ago as well, but the level of play that it gets now does sometimes feel like it’s even less than before. This conflict though should be getting more play since the next week’s worth of actions by them, by the EU and by us could set the course for how our relations with Russia and Georgia for years to come.

    You also have to wonder if this is just a border spat or yet another sign that Russia is sliding back into the mold of the old USSR.

    Never really was a West Wing fan.

  4. Micha says:

    This Georgia situation is very strange. Is it a historical turning point and we just don’t know it?

  5. jjchandler says:

    Micha, the scary thing is that I think most of us know that history is at a turning point here. We just don’t fully know how many degrees it’s turning and in which direction. This could be Russia creating border walls/buffer zones for itself or it could be the beginning of a return to the Russia of the old Soviet hardliner days.

    It would be interesting to see more coverage of what’s going on with the people of Russia and what they think about this. Are they supportive of the direction that their government is going in here?

  6. Micha says:

    It seems that the worst people imagined — Russia reconquering Georgia — did not happen. But they certainly made it clear whose in charge + what happens if you support seperatist (say that fast 3 times) + established a pattern of Russia using military force in defence of russians outside its borders. Who knows where this is heading.
    For now it seems everybody wins. The russians showed their might + I envy the performance of their army and leadership compared to ours. The Georgians have a leadership position in the newly established I hate Russia club. And the Europeans could pretend that they matter.

    The Israeli columnist I sent you before wrote that Bush squandered the time in which the US was the only super power.

  7. jjchandler says:

    “For now it seems everybody wins.”

    I don’t know. The word here in the last hour is that Russia has told everyone that their two choices are to support Georgia or have relations with Russia. The word coming out today is that Russia has also not quite kept their end of the cease fire agreement. This game is still in play and the final outcome may not be clearly seen by any observers not actually in the middle of it for weeks or months.

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