Saturday, February 20, 2010

Which Came First the Media or the Sheep?


For quite some time now I have held the opinion that the dumbing down of the news media in the United States has been solely the responsibility of the news media itself. We all know it is easier and cheaper to run a quick gossip piece that it is to fully research a segment on nuclear energy, the humanitarian crisis in Darfur or fraud in the Department of Justice. The media moguls argue that they are only covering what the public wants to see, hear and read. My answer has been: Bullshit! I for one do not believe who Tiger Woods might be screwing is on the moral equivalent of two wars, global economic meltdown or the fate of the Hubble telescope.

Last evening, however, I tuned into the Charlie Rose Show and found him leading with an interview of a senior reporter from Golf Digest. Seems Tiger made a fully scripted statement that said blah, blah, blah. Charlie Rose led with some bullshit PR piece by an athlete who was unfaithful to his marriage. There actually is more hard news on The Daily Show than on PBS.

Let me be clear on this item. Tiger Woods is the best professional golfer in the world. I enjoy the accomplishments of athletes like Woods, Michael Jordan, Pele, Gretsky... I like that every so often someone really is heads and shoulders above everyone else. It proves, if nothing else, that socialism is wrong. But who any of these people sleep with is not news. Repeat, not news.

I am not a news junkie, at least not what passes for news on television or in the the olde print media. I get my news from the net, where I can filter it. Yet, even with rigorous tweaking of what comes to me as news, I still know who this worthless piece of flotsam is:


Did I search once too often for "romantic european capitals" or "tackily themed las vegas casinos"? No, the news media machine decided that this creature was worthy of covering, something she apparently is unable to do on her own.

So, I asked myself: Am I wrong? What does the "public" really want to see covered in the "news"? Since I get my news from the web, I thought I should consult the internet and in particular Google for my information.

As of this moment, these are the top ten Googled items on the web:

1. who's afraid of virginia wolf
2. facebook problems
3. alexander haig
4. jazimine cashmere is pregnant by what rapper
5. facebook not working
6. dragon wars
7. miss peregrym
8. facebook outage
9. crossroads tickets*
10. tiger woods

*if you are in Illinois in late June, this is worth checking out

And these are the top ten trending topics:

1. tiger woods
2. glenn beck cpac
3. woods
4. tiger
5. olympic hockey
6. facebook
7. stick it movie
8. haig
9. wii
10. tiger woods effect**

**That last one got me, so I followed the link and found among other things that during the 13 minute Tiger Woods apology speech, the New York stock exchange actually slowed as traders paused to watch.

I shall now alter my opinion on the survivability of the human race.

3 comments:

Nephew Jake said...

Keep in mind Uncle Tim, the beauty of the internets (a little GW just for you) and Google is that we share it with 13 year old girls. The same 13 year olds that wield their parents' purchasing power and watch about 8 times more television than the previous generation. Don't worry about survivability, just remember that while that guy over there or this lady here may be smart, the "public" you speak of are absolute idiots and this will just have to be accepted.

PokerShrink said...

Interesting position Sir, I would disagree but I have no evidence to refute your point.

Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Was reading around a couple of months back -- just after the T-giving incident -- and saw there was a scientific study on the "Tiger Woods Effect" (on the golf course, that is). http://hardboiledpoker.blogspot.com/2009/12/it-goes-without-saying.html

Interesting to learn of the phrase's use in another context. I imagine it is now being used with regard to other things, too (infidelity, sex addiction, etc.).