Go read this most excellent post by Al Giordano over at The Field. It’s great stuff. Here is a snippet…
What I have often smacked down from this corner as “the poutrage of the week” and the panicked Chicken Little behavior of those who follow the commercial media’s constant feedbag of crisis and attention-seeking, is really, all of it, a consequence of the harms that de Botton describes. Like domesticated oxen, the population is yanked from media stoked crisis to crisis, all of which carry a whiff of apocalypse: an oil gusher in the Gulf now comes with underwater 24-hour live stream cameras, all available online and to TV networks, as experts – real and invented – jump onto our screens to tell us their version of what is happening. “We are continuously challenged to discover new works of culture,” says de Botton, “and, in the process, we don’t allow any one of them to assume a weight in our minds.” A few weeks later comes Israel’s raid on an aid flotilla (the Middle East being, for many, a Pavlov signifier for “apocalypse” and thus an easy ruse for the media to get all sides drooling and barking according to an age-old script) and the cycle starts anew. And next week or the following week, when fatigue sets in on those obsessions, it will be something else altogether.
Morning Joe always seems to get my blood pumping in the morning. David Gregory and Savannah Guthrie trotted out the ole “the statue of limitations on blaming the Bush administration is over” talking point. Isn’t that a FOXism? Whenever anyone mentions the source of a problem or what caused a particular problem, the right wing and the media trot out that tired formulaic response. It’s so stupid on it’s face, there is some arbitrary time when a previous administration is no longer responsible for what they did? What is it, one year, 18 months, the first 100 days? Using the statute of limitations analogy is basically admitting that they are responsible, but we just can’t blame them anymore. In a criminal case, even if a person is guilty, if the statute of limitations is up….they go free.
It’s just one more example of how the media likes to simplify things, make it black or white, categorize it, compare it to something else so it’s easier to digest (the whole Katrina example). The media has been taken over by the village idiots, it seems. If you listen carefully to almost any newscaster, reporter or “expert” on the cable shows, you can hear so much opinion, supposition and blatant un-sourced information. Hell, a post on a blog or a tweet from an anonymous person is sometimes used as corroboration. How screwed up is that. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a pundit cherry pick a statement from an emailer or tweeter or whatever and use that as a basis for saying “the American people believe this or that”. It’s the “Foxification of America”.