Jenna Bush, Stephen King, And Real News

Here’s Stephen King — a guy who used to be one my favorite authors until he started regularly pumping out third rate crap instead of brilliant horror — kvetching about waterboarding and the lack of real news coverage from the MSM,

“Yeah. You know, I just filmed a segment for Nightline, about [the movie version of his novella] The Mist, and one of the things I said to them was, you know, “You guys are just covering — what do they call it — the scream of the peacock, and you’re missing the whole fox hunt.” Like waterboarding [or] where all the money went that we poured into Iraq. It just seems to disappear. And yet you get this coverage of who’s gonna get custody of Britney’s kids? Whether or not Lindsay drank at her twenty-first birthday party, and all this other sh*t. You know, this morning, the two big stories on CNN are Kanye West’s mother, who died, apparently, after having some plastic surgery.

The other big thing that’s going on is whether or not this cop [Drew Peterson] killed his… wife. And meanwhile, you’ve got Pakistan in the midst of a real crisis, where these people have nuclear weapons that we helped them develop. You’ve got a guy in charge, who’s basically declared himself the military strongman and is being supported by the Bush administration, whose raison d’etre for going into Iraq was to spread democracy in the world.

So you’ve got these things going on, which seem to me to be very substantive, that could affect all of us, and instead, you see a lot of this back-fence gossip. So I said something to the Nightline guy about waterboarding, and if the Bush administration didn’t think it was torture, they ought to do some personal investigation. Someone in the Bush family should actually be waterboarded so they could report on it to George. I said, I didn’t think he would do it, but I suggested Jenna be waterboarded and then she could talk about whether or not she thought it was torture.

First of all, on the Jenna Bush torture thing: it would be utterly pointless for Jenna Bush to undergo waterboarding because whatever her opinion was afterwards wouldn’t change a single person’s mind. Moreover, the idea that waterboarding is even being called “torture” is laughable. It’s an extremely unpleasant two or three minute experience that does no lasting physical or mental damage. Why do you think so many left-wing weenies are willing to voluntarily undergo waterboarding and then write about it on the internet? Because they really don’t think it’s all that big of a deal. They can call it “torture” all they want, but you wouldn’t have so many anti-war libs volunteering to endure it if was so terrible (Not only do I personally approve of waterboarding prisoners at Gitmo to get information out of them, I think we haven’t used the technique nearly enough.)

But, on to King’s larger point,

“So you’ve got these things going on, which seem to me to be very substantive, that could affect all of us, and instead, you see a lot of this back-fence gossip.”

The honest truth is that the media spends so much time on Kanye West’s mother, Britney Spears, and the kidnap/murder of the moment story, etc., because that’s what produces ratings and if you want to keep your job, you give the public what it wants to see.

Is any of that “back-fence gossip” as important as what’s going on in Pakistan, Iraq, or Iran? No. Is it as important as the budget deficit, illegal immigration, or health care? No. Is it as important as in-depth, hard hitting looks at the policy differences of the people running for President? No.

But, if there are 10 people who want to hear about Kanye West’s mama and Britney Spears for every 1 person who wants to hear about Pakistan and Social Security, the news shows will prioritize what they cover to take that into account — and can you blame them?

Look at it from their perspective: would it be better to spend 20 minutes on fluff and 10 minutes on real news if it’s seen by 2 million people or 30 minutes on hard hitting news that will be seen by 200k people? You might have a few purists take option #2, but almost everyone else wants large numbers of eyeballs.

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