American Culture

And the news the media say is most important these days is …

Newly minted New York governor David Paterson and his wife had extra-marital affairs. Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey says he and his wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, engaged in three-way sex with his ex-aide and driver; Mrs. McGreevey says they didn’t. Meanwhile, the McGreeveys’ high-profile, salacious divorce case remains nightly news in the Garden State.

The dissection of disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, continues. On “Larry King Live,” a 15-minute, 47-second segment discusses how to catch cheating spouses.

CNN’s “Quick Vote” question today asks: “If a politician is unfaithful in his or her private life, do you think that impacts their ability to be honest in public life?” (At this writing, 54 percent voted yes.)

And it’s ho, ho, ho everywhere as “serious” journalists interview prostitutes, including discussion of their high-tech improvements and former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss proclaiming, “Dude, these are men.”

Broadcast news programs repeatedly replay video of Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., making incendiary comments about race relations in the United States.

News programs, print, online and cable and network, have made themselves giddy with March Madness, the annual mania that is the NCAA basketball championships. Even presidential candidate John McCain practices bracketology on his Web site.

Meanwhile, 41 million people continue to drink water tainted by pharmaceutical residues.

Says the Associated Press: “As of Monday, March 17, 2008, at least 3,990 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.”

On Sunday, China blocked access to YouTube for its 100 million citizens with Web access so they could not see videos of beatings of Tibetan protesters as, says a New York Times editorial, “the United States removed China from its list of top 10 human rights violators just as the biggest anti-China protests in 20 years erupted in Tibet.”

Inflation at the producer level jumped 0.5 percent in February to 5.4 percent, the biggest increase since October 2006. Oil prices hit a record peak of $111.80 Monday. Wheat prices have climbed nearly 50 percent since August, hitting as much as $16 a bushel as world wheat stocks have fallen by 30 percent and U.S. supplies have dropped to levels not seen since the end of World War II.

About 50 percent of the electricity consumed in the U.S. is produced with coal. The average Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk by an area equivalent to Texas and Alaska combined from 1979. Desertification remains problematic throughout the world.

U.S. airlines pushed through their largest fare hikes in years, as much as $50 on long-haul, return-trip tickets.

Whew. Depressed? Fear not; relief is near.

“UCLA Medical Center is taking steps to fire at least 13 employees and has suspended at least six others for snooping in the confidential medical records of pop star Britney Spears during her recent hospitalization in its psychiatric unit,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

And, it appears, Ms. Spears must pay ex-husband Kevin Federline $375,000 to cover legal fees in their child custody case.

And this: “A judge on Monday extended a temporary restraining order for one month against Sam Lutfi, a friend and former self-styled manager of troubled pop star Britney Spears.”

And finally, Heather Mills received $48.7 million in her divorce from pop star Paul McCartney but a less-than-favorable review as a lawyer from the judge.

There. Feeling better, now that you’ve had your titillation fix? Let our serious journalism make that nasty, inconvenient, serious world go ‘way.

Photo credit: Robert Galbraith, Reuters

9 replies »

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  2. Good post. I know this isn’t germane to the post……With the collapse of Bear Stern…..JP Morgan paid less to get Bear Stern than the Yankees paid to get A-Rod.


  3. Great points – I wholeheartedly agree. I believe the madam’s name was Heidi Fleiss however. Otherwise, love your stuff.

  4. The only reason I read the Lying main stream news is to see to what level of stupidity they can sink to next.

  5. Jeff,

    I think your point is spot on. Thanks.


    *smacks forehead* Thanks for catching the name error. I’ve fixed it. And I’m going to catch hell from my students, because I fail them if their stories contain errors with proper names.


    It’s not that the MM lie; they don’t need to do that. It’s decisions on what constitutes news and what doesn’t that lead them to portray the world unrealistically.

  6. The media in this country is exactly like the media in the old USSR, and with some people in the Dept. of “Homey-land” having come from the KGB, what else would you expect. I saw a quote from a former CIA operative that said it was cheaper to buy journalists in America, than what a pimp would charge. Pretty much the same deal, if you ask me.

  7. A few minutes after reading your so-true-it-hurts column, I looked at my daily newspaper. There was an Associated Press article about the First Lady papers (11,000 total) recently released by Sen. Clinton, thanks to an FOIA suit. What did the article address? Her claims to have participated in many important presidential decisions? N-o-o-o-o. The only analysis done thus far is that she was present in the White House (East Wing) when her husband was having a fling with his intern (West Wing). Is that the first thing that a serious journalist would look for? No wonder the public is so alarmingly unaware of many of the important issues today.