Friday, February 23, 2007

No news is good news

In media companies' never-ending pursuit of more viewers, readers, listeners, and/or browsers, the idea of "news" has been denigrated to the point of pandering.

Here are's "top stories" this morning:

Played up is a feature called "Behind the Sunni-Shiite Divide." Fair enough... that's sort of news, but it's really more of a feature piece than anything "breaking."

On to the list of top stories:
- Smith's body gets mom's body -- who gets baby?
- Weepy judge, woozy lawyer create court drama
- Analysis: Clinton-Obama tussle reveals issues
- U.S. soldier gets 100 years for rape, killings in Iraq
- Iran complains of nuclear bullying
- Concrete balls used to plug mud volcano
- Five-year-old rider trampled to death at rodeo
- Has hip-hop gone too far in degrading women?
- Thongs, fishnets called harmful to young girls
- Toned-down Oscars opt for 'gay woman in a suit'
- Fortune: Crazy behavior of the very wealthy

See if you can spot the two stories in there that might actually be useful. I'll wait.

It's definitely not one of the top two. The dead formerly-bloated skank has been monopolizing headlines since she quit stealing oxygen a couple weeks ago, and the story is lingering like the stench of a week-old, over-privileged corpse.

Did Anna Nicole Smith ever accomplish anything, aside from nabbing a few Playboy accolades and an advertising gig for TrimSpa?

The next presidential election should certainly be in the news. It's a tad early, but we should definitely be examining the hopefuls who've tossed their hats into the next race.

Too bad the story, which is written by CNN's "Senior Political Analyst," is about 20 inches worth of Captain Obvious remarks.

Then there's the soldier conviction story, followed by "Iran complains of nuclear bullying."

So, five stories in, we finally make it to something that has global impact -- no pun intended.

I guess the reason things are ordered this way is because CNN (which is only one among a throng of offenders) is trying to pander to the public's questionable mores by placing "popular" stories near the top of their page.

But here's the thing -- as a news organization, you're not supposed to just give people what they want. You're supposed to be giving them what they need to know, which includes, but is not limited to, information on the war everyone's tired of hearing about. Anna Nicole Smith warranted maybe one tongue-in-cheek obituary, not two solid weeks of total coverage.

Everyone knows that the stupid broad is dead, and that Britney Spears shaved her head, but has any significant demographic of people been informed on any late-breaking developments in Iraq?


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Don't panic

I deleted a couple recent posts because I hated them. Just so you all know.