So, tell me again why I’m watching Hillary’s cleavage on the news?
It took me a couple of days to figure it out. I mean, it couldn’t actually be newsworthy, could it? Breaking News: Hillary Clinton has Breasts. I’m pretty sure we all knew she was a woman. Hell, her femininity (to an extent) is the only thing that both sides of the extreme political spectrum actually agree about. So why do we have panels discussing the political implications of her primary sex characteristics? If she had flashed the stadium during her speech to show off her new ruby-lined pasties, I could understand the infatuation. But why does the choice of a low-cut blouse for one of her political events suddenly warrant hours upon hours of pseudo-intellectual debate? Why are we talking about Hillary’s breasts (or, to be more accurate, the fleshy valley between them) to begin with? For that matter, why am I still hearing about John Edward’s haircut? Or Mitt Romney’s makeup? Or Obama’s middle name? Or Al Gore at all? Why are these endless news channels pumping endless streams of completely pointless trivia that signifies nothing?
When the answer finally hit me, it was obvious that I can’t believe I missed it in the first place.
They hate us.
They despise us. They don’t care about us or the events that affect our lives. All they see when they look down at us is an endless sea of potential ratings, and the news isn’t a tool for the dissemination of pertinent information as much as it is a huge trawling net meant to drag us in and convince us that the mindless crap they keep churning out to entertain us is actually helping us.
They are not helping us. They are slowly killing us.
I’m not even talking about the wall-to-wall tabloid story coverage that they spend half the time apologizing for, and the other half spoon feeding it to us like so much rancid jam. There will always be Anna Nicole Smiths and Paris Hiltons, and there will always be people who want to see as much of them as humanly possible. It may be an insidious evil sucking away at our eternal souls like blood gorged leaches attached to the human psyche’s testicles, but you aren’t going to beat that horse just because you can call it by name. Let it ride, it will eventually forget to eat and drown in its own bitter saliva.
My problem is that the rest of the news has become nothing more than a mirror of the times. You might think that’s what it’s supposed to do, but cast your back to a time when journalists actually uncovered stories, followed leads, asked hard questions, made deductive leaps in logic, and helped us to read between the lines. They exposed conspiracies, unearthed secrets, communicated desperately needed truths, and occasionally lifted up the rock to show us what was crawling underneath, whether we wanted to see or not. They toppled empires and destroyed legacies, for no other reason than that they were expected to do so.
What do they do now? Sit back and watch Tony Snow’s PowerPoint Presentation of how the facts aren’t facts until the White House confirms them as such. Oh sure, the occasional reporter may shake his head quietly at the blatant spectacle. But that just isn’t enough. Case in point: look at the bridge collapse in
News Channels have been doing reports on substandard bridges and overpasses for decades. I remember seeing their cute little exposes back in High School, and they’re still doing them today. Of course, they were always somewhere between the cute photo-op and the weather, something to stretch the reporting minutes when there weren’t enough Hollywood Pseudo-News extravaganzas to fill the time before the Sports segment.
But then a major bridge collapses during rush hour, and the twenty-four hour news channels clog the airwaves with new exposes, in-depth segments, flashy graphics, useless reporters vainly attempting to avoid bumping into one another as they pace around “Live at the Scene” looking for sound bites, and the endless line of talking head experts ready to talk for hours and hours.
Since when does interviewing someone who has nothing to do with what happened so they can give their unneeded opinions about the hypothetical questions posed in regards to the unverified facts pouring in? I guess since twenty-four hour news channels realized that actual news just wasn’t going to draw in the Nielsen shares they need to draw the big advertising dollars.
You can fault the public for not paying attention to countless second-break stories about unsafe overpasses. You can blame the government for the same. But what were the news programs and channels doing when they could have been exposing the horrifying truth about just how unsafe our infrastructure is, when society had their face rubbed in the avoidable loss lives should have been like a bad puppy soiling its own habitat?
They hate us. They’re killing us slowly. And when we finally succumb, they’ll be sure to have a man on the scene to ask grieving family members how they feel, and there will be countless experts and analysts on hand to debate the possible causes of our demise.
And we’ll most likely watch.
The News Media as a whole need to make a decision. Are they the Watchdogs of Society? Or are they merely here to document our downfall while selling advertising space to pay the salaries of the models and actors posing as newscasters?