Monday, April 7, 2008

The Paparazzing of Politics

Lindsay and I were talking just yesterday about how frustrating, infuriating and sad it is that people demand to be entertained rather than informed by the news. This morning, I read Glenn Greenwald's column at Salon [via C&L] about just that... And he had the numbers to back it up. It ain't pretty, friends:

In the past two weeks, the following events transpired. A Department of Justice memo, authored by John Yoo, was released which authorized torture and presidential lawbreaking. It was revealed that the Bush administration declared the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be inapplicable to “domestic military operations” within the U.S. The U.S. Attorney General appears to have fabricated a key event leading to the 9/11 attacks and made patently false statements about surveillance laws and related lawsuits. Barack Obama went bowling in Pennsylvania and had a low score.

Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

“Yoo and torture” - 102

“Mukasey and 9/11″ — 73

“Yoo and Fourth Amendment” — 16

“Obama and bowling” — 1,043

“Obama and Wright” — More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)

“Obama and patriotism” - 1,607

“Clinton and Lewinsky” — 1,079

Sigh... I can't even comment further on this.


Chocolate-Loving Atheist said...

Why am I not surprised?

This really needs to change.

Anonymous said...

That's terrible. Stories about celebrities and scandal might be interesting, but that's not what the news is for. Although I suppose they just show what people want to see...

Here in New Zealand the television news is obviously trying to be more entertaining, even suspenseful: "and after the break, we'll tell you why parents are upset about X product." I prefer the radio news now - they just get to the point.