Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Octuple Stuffed

Twenty-four hour television networks have a lot more in common with avalanches than they do with journalism. There are very few investigations that lead to untold stories, and very many instances of turning around, seeing an incoming wall of snow, and riding it to the bottom, burying unprepared viewers in the process.

Proof comes in the form of Reverend Wright. Reporters spent months trudging through the Iowa snow to report on what kind of muffin Obama preferred for breakfast. Nowhere in that process did someone say, "hey, I wonder if his pastor believes AIDS was intentionally created by the government to kill black people." Maybe someone did, but just because you kick snow doesn't mean you will start an avalanche.

The real superstar of news these days is last year's Time Magazine person of the year, 'you'. Specifically, 'you' if you click on youTube links sent by friends. This new institution of journalism can break stories like Reverend Wright, tasering at a Kerry speech, and Dramatic Gopher.

The real cause of the avalanche effect is why news channels are trapped in a self-sustaining bubble, the reporting of a report of a news story.

"Is the news coverage of Reverend Wright fair?"
"Media backlash against Obama"
"Are we focusing too much on Reverent Wright"

10% of 24 hour news channels contains news.
80% is filler
5% is Bill O'Reilly cutting off someone's mic
4% is an excited Chris Matthews incoherently yelling.
1% is subliminal pictures of Rupert Murdoch counting his money.

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