At the end of a long and mostly innocuous article in the New Yorker about the ups and downs of NBC's Today show, Ken Auletta relates a "late lunch" he had with Katie Couric. Couric was "worried" that hard news didn't appeal to viewers. During a brief chicken-and-egg discussion between Auletta and Couric ("are we giving people what they want?" "Or are people watching what we give them?"). Couric then forthrightly declared, "I always felt it was our responsibility as journalists to explore issues and talk about subjects and have serious stories that people need to know about to be informed citizens." Admirably put, I thought. Then Couric recounted a story of which she was especially "proud," a "terrific story" that was "honest and very well produced."
In this year of endless blood flowing in Iraq, of Rovegate, of the ongoing venality of an administration with almost no constraint on its dishonesty, what was the story in question? You guessed it -- Couric's exclusive interview with Jennifer Wilbanks, aka, the "runaway bride."
Meanwhile, last night while flipping through channels on TV, I noticed that CNN's Nancy Grace -- who's made a truly impressive late run to overtake Ann Coulter, Britney Spears, and Wilbanks herself for the honor of Most Annoying White Chick of 2005 -- was still flogging the Natalee Holloway disappearance non-story for all it's worth. As baby sis so artfully put it, "News is called news because it's new. 'We still haven't found her' is not new, therefore it is not news."
See, you conservatives think you've got a monopoly on total contempt for the mainstream media, but really, y'all don't know the half of it. Sure, the media's biased, but they're not biased in favor of Democrats or liberalism in general. They're biased toward being complete frickin' idiots, and that's probably even more dangerous. There's a war going on in Iraq, terrorist bombings going on in other places, a looming health-care crisis here at home, and oh yeah, that famine thing in Darfur or wherever? still going strong -- but the media would ignore it all if they could just find a hottie blond bride who's supposed to marry Brad Pitt but runs away to Aruba and then gets kidnapped, and if they could just find a way that steroid-abusing major-league baseball players were involved, boy, that'd be enough to trigger an instant it's-OK-it-happens-to-a-lot-of-guys-we-can-still-cuddle explosion in their shorts in response to their good fortune.
This is why I get all my news from NPR and "The Daily Show." At least they're funny. (Oh yeah, NPR included. Have you ever heard Susan Stanberg tell that "Aristocrats" joke? Rolling on the floor, I tell ya.)