Does the News Media Give Us Any News At All?
If the internet has had one effect upon politics more than any other, it’s the degree to which what politicians say is now magnified and distributed throughout the digital universe, no matter how stupid, aimless, or just downright silly a particular remark happens to be.
The other day, Trump put up a comment on his Truth Social page, which said (and I quote): “This is the most dangerous time in the history of our country. World War III is looming, like never before, in the very dark and murky background. Leadership' is solely responsible for this unprecedented danger to the USA, and likewise, the World. HOPELESS JOE BIDEN IS LEADING US INTO OBLIVION!!!"
This entire statement was reposted, word for word, by Newsweek, as if it represented some kind of news. But worse, to give the comment even more credibility and more newsworthiness, Newsweek said that it “reached out to representatives for Trump for clarification, and to the White House for a response.”
The article then went on to state that perhaps Trump was referring to the situation in Ukraine as the places where World War III would break out. Or maybe he was referring to some other place and Newsweek was reaching out to him to get clarification and figure this out.
Is Newsweek serious? They’re asking Trump to ‘clarify’ something he said online? Do they want to make sure that they have reported what he said correctly so that their followers will be sure to know exactly what’s in Trump’s mind?
The news media pulls the same nonsense with other totally stupid and bizarre political content which floats across the internet every day. Take, for example, yesterday’s tweet by Marjorie Taylor Greene that 6 billion people have illegally crossed the Southern border since Joe took office.
Obviously, she probably meant to say 6 million, except that comment wouldn’t have gotten her any reactions at all. So, what the Hell, change it to billion and at least digital news aggregators like The Independent will take it seriously enough to run a story about it and spread it some more.
When I was a kid living in New York City, there was a daily tabloid called The Mirror, which appeared on the news stands around 4 PM every day. The front page was always some big headline about something which either hadn’t really happened or happened in a way completely different from the way it was described.
The real reason that anyone bought The Mirror was because it was the first newspaper published each day which carried that day’s ‘number,’ which was why thousands of New Yorkers dropped off a nickel or a dime at the corner candy store on their way to work every day. If internet news aggregators like The Independent or digital news magazines like Newsweek would carry some betting line, I’d forgive them for their evident inability to report actual news.
For that matter, take a look at today’s print edition of The New York Times and compare it to the digital front page. You will note that in the print edition, there isn’t single editorial – the content is all news. On the front page of the website, however, there are no less than 12 opinion pieces, all of which encourage readers to submit a response.
I don’t have the slightest interest in reading what Joe Blow or any other NYT subscriber says about something written by Maureen Dowd. For that matter, I’m not particularly concerned about what Maureen Dowd has to say about whatever she talks about.
None of this is news. It’s hot air and it’s no different from the so-called ‘news’ shows on Fox and MS-NBC where a group of spielers sit there and say whatever the show producers have put on the teleprompter for them to say.
I’m beginning to think that we don’t have any real news because there is no real news. So, the Russians blow up another couple of cities in Ukraine, or the North Koreans fire off some missile, or a bunch of expensive homes in San Bernardino float down into the sea.
This country is so wealthy and so stable that even the shock of a four-hour riot inside the United States Capitol has disappeared.
My local convenience store has a Sunday special with two cups of coffee – any size – for a buck. And as for the looming recession, the Dow is exactly where it was one year ago.