|The Goliard Blog
Your destination for deep thoughts and alleged insights
25 October 2002
More junk news. This morning Rod Dreher posted a comment in The Corner regarding the non-stop non-news on television about the sniper. "You wait in vain for news from the Moscow hostage situation, in which hundreds of people stand to die at any second," he wrote, "and the channels might squeeze in a short update between long patches of telling you the same sniper news they told you FIVE MINUTES AGO!" I vented on this general topic some time ago (see "Junk news, go away!"), and had been meaning to say a few more words about lack of news judgement and obliviousness to most everything taking place beyond our shores after American television's non-coverage of the German elections some weeks ago. Dreher's post has prodded me to finally do so.
Some of us remember Germany, right? Largest country in the E.U., holding a national election recently that was very tight, with the issues of American foreign policy and German politicos' anti-Americanism featuring prominently in the last week of campaigning? Yeah, that Germany.
Maybe the television news directors just forgot about this obscure little country; or (worse) maybe they had no trouble remembering about the election, only it was their considered, professional judgement that certain other stories were clearly more important for America and the world that particular Sunday. Such as some dumb heretofore-anonymous woman who was caught by a security camera pounding on her kid in an Indiana parking lot. Of such overwhelming world-historical importance was this story that the whole gang—CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox—went with it all day long. (The inestimable Brit Hume on Fox News was a rare exception, taking some time to chat with a former American ambassador to Germany about the election results in between updates on the now-already-forgotten child-beater.) I was apoplectic. Even C-SPAN let me down…they were too busy running several hours of videotape of Senator Kerrey at a book signing somewhere in the Midwest to do more than squeeze in 15 minutes of Deutsche Welle (which by C-SPAN standards is a mere symbolic gesture).
Once again I ask, where is the sound news judgement in newsrooms nowadays? Wasn't there at least one person in the offices of CNN et al jumping up and down that Sunday screaming "The Germans are holding a national election and arguing about us to boot…we've got to go over to Berlin right this minute!" or "This stupid woman in Indiana isn't newsworthy, dammit!"? And if there was, what did the people who overruled this person have to say in response? I would really like to know. I ask again, does anybody in television news feel any responsibility to inform and educate the public about their world anymore, or are they perfectly content to serve up hour after hour of titillation and alarmism and idiotic pap?
And don't even get me started on the obsession over celebrities. The only consolation I have on this score is that the Brits are even more celebrity-addled than we are, as evidenced by this recent survey reported on by the BBC (which fits with my own impressions of the unfortunate trajectory of British society, particularly over the last five to ten years). Read it and weep.posted by The Goliard | Link |