Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Focus on the Issues

Thanks to staying in a hotel with a TV in my room, I'm learning all kinds of things about American media culture that I otherwise would have missed!  The Royal Baby seems to have fallen off the radar on MSNBC, having been pushed brutally aside by the latest Anthony Weiner scandal.  (Fortunately the serious news aficionado can keep up with the Royal Baby saga at the Onion.)

For the first hour after I woke up this morning, various talking heads on MSNBC debated the significance of Weiner's behavior, of his wife's Standing By Her Man (a phrase whose use in these stories seems to have started with Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1992), and of the Cubicle Guy who "went viral" and Everybody Who's Anybody wants to know who he is.  NPR, the Serious News people, filled us in. Thank you, NPR, for going where the mainstream media fear to tread; I can sleep better tonight, knowing who Cubicle Guy is. There was clucking about Weiner just thinking about himself (unlike every other figure in American politics) and "I think we want someone who can be focused on issues."  Yes, one of them actually said that.  Why would anyone in political life want to focus on the issues, when the media will ignore such a person in favor of scandals, gaffes, and the Cubicle Guy?

One of these segments was followed by a stumbling young anchorperson who reported that beer sales are down 2.6%, because what with the raise in the payroll tax, the young men who buy beer just can't afford as much beer as they used to.  But as the economy improves, beer sales will go back up!  Now, there's some hard-hitting, issues-focused, objective journalism for you.