Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This is what Jon Stewart was talking about

By Edward Copeland

To paraphrase the old Clinton campaign battle cry, "It's the media, stupid."

When the whole TSA media explosion began, it was one of those rare stories where all sides of the political spectrum seemed to agree from the likes of Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake to an assortment of conservative talking heads. It even had its own variation of "Don't tase me, bro" with "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested" before true horror stories came out of passengers who had colostomy bags broken and urine collection bags ruptured, women who had their prosthetic breasts which they got after cancer surgery moved around as if they were puzzle pieces, etc. (Read Capt. Fogg's post for some of the examples.) It all pointed to improper training. Well, cable can't stand something like that, so they had to find political sides.

Suddenly, the left decided the whole issue was raised by neocons and the right to try to use racial profiling, even though days earlier they agreed with some of the ridiculousness of the system that still doesn't really add to protecting our skies nine years after 9/11. What makes this completely nonsensical and infuriating is that there is real news going on.

North Korea attacks a South Korean island in the most serious engagement between the two countries since 1953 in the same week we learn that North Korea has built another uranium enrichment facility. Do cable news shows want to discuss the serious implications of this? They could even put a political spin on it, if they wanted, as Jon Kyl continues to oppose the latest START treaty for no apparent reason.

I just watched Ed Schultz throwing a conniption fit about racial profiling and the TSA and Rush Limbaugh and I just couldn't take it anymore and I did what I do more and more when I need reasonable news coverage: I watched PBS' the NewsHour. They, of course, had in-depth coverage of the Korean situation as well as the fake Taliban negotiator, a promising drug that might actually prevent HIV infection and details of the financial reform. In fact, they went an entire hour without mentioning the TSA or what the cable channels would have you believe is today's other story of monumental importance: Prince William and Kate Middleton have set a wedding date!

Of course, I'm not even mentioning MSNBC's corporate synergy with NBC by using its nonstop coverage of the TSA imbroglio to play the Saturday Night Live skit about it from last weekend about it (which they do every time there is a new SNL on) as if it's an essential part of illustrating the story. Chris Matthews went as far as calling it the greatest SNL sketch ever. It aired on Olbermann, Maddow and O'Donnell last night and Morning Joe, Hardball and Schultz today.

Politico's Mike Allen had a funny tweet earlier today pointing out that Good Morning America actually did lead with the North Korean situation, but the Today show actually chose to go with the wedding date. As Fran Lebowitz said in the wonderful documentary about her that premiered on HBO last night, Public Speaking, I remember when news used to mean information.

It's like Jon Stewart said during his interview with Rachel Maddow. Was the Juan Williams story really as important as cable news made it out to be? No, but it fit their narrative and their template. There are far too many important things going on both domestically and overseas to waste our times on this nonsense anymore. Our "leaders" in D.C. can play politics, but they've lost the ability and the interest to govern and none of the talking heads on either side have any role in governance. Enough.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


  • Good post. As sad as it sounds, the next generation of "news" consumers won't remember when news meant information. We're heading in that direction rather quickly. The difficult part is making the real stories entertaining enough that the scandal addicts pay attention, maybe learn something... How is another

    By Blogger Muddy Politics, at 7:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home