Destroying Obama as Quickly as Possible, Part 1: 24 Hour News Is Wrecking America:
It must suck to have to feed a 24 hour news cycle. Although, let's be honest, it's only about 17 hours or so, excluding reruns. And, to be more honest, taking out the 6 or 7 hours of hosted commentary masked as news shows, we're pretty much down to 10 hours or less of actual news on your CNNMSNBCFox. That's leaving out weekends (save Sunday morning), when MSNBC becomes two days of prison sodomy and shivs, Fox "news" puts its crazy people on, and CNN cowers in the corner. But all in all, it's a lot of fucking time, and if your needle's not stuck on Michael Jackson or some such shit, you've gotta come up with something to say.
Compare that with the pre-CNN days. For years, the major networks had 30 minutes in the evening in which to tell the public something about the world. Let's not idealize this: the bullshit to real news content ratio was pretty much the same. They had to pick and choose among the constant wave of stories and opinions. But that necessarily meant that there were stories that weren't covered, for good or ill. It wasn't perfect, by any means, and it could be easily manipulated, but there was a sense that we at least had an idea of some of the important shit we needed to know to get by in our daily American lives. For more depth, there was 60 Minutes or it's genetically-mutated sibling, 20/20, or even, shockingly, hour-long specials on things that weren't serial killer or child molester-related that people really watched.
It's like the difference between an orgy and a really good night of fucking a single partner. Sure, an orgy's fun and all, but ultimately, if it's a good one, you're left exhausted, sticky, and overwhelmed, unable to clearly recall which cock was in which asshole or which mouth was on which cunt. Orgies are, by their nature, shallow experiences, rarely transcendental. However, a long evening of balling a single partner, the kind where you each actually give a damn what you're giving as well as what you're getting, that's the essential shit, the experiences that make us human animals, whether it's for a night or a year.
So because the role of news producer has become more like the ecstasy dealer at the orgy than an editor, because the filter's now just what is most exploitative, yet not too uncomfortable (Natalee Holloway above war contractor fraud, for instance), we get the mainstreaming of the most fucktarded, meaningless, fraudulent conspiracy theories that can be vomited out. Like whether or not Barack Obama was American-born (which, of all people, Mike Huckabee helped put to sleep with the notion that if Hillary Clinton's campaign believed it was bullshit, it was bullshit).
Or this latest trip to right-wing nutzoidville, a place where you shit out of your mouth and talk out of your ass, the whole "debate" over whether proposed health care legislation promotes killing old people. Or, as the National Review's Byron York put it when talking about any end-of-life issues that might be raised in the bill, "whether there's any coercive element to this." Hell, Obama was asked about it at a town hall meeting put on by AARP. It's enough to make you wanna yell, "Don't go into the orange room, Edward G. Robinson."
The point here is not about debunking such twaddle. The point is that we shouldn't even be hearing about it on the news. This is the kind of shit that used to be passed around by rumor and urban legend, occasionally surfacing when there was mass hysteria in some town over fluoride in the water or backwards "masking" in rock music, because stupid people will often be heard.
But there's something more insidious here than just the media running with a story that mixes murder and the legislative process. It's a larger narrative the media seems to need and promote through much of its neverending cycle. See, there's no drama in "Obama gets elected, does what he said he'd do, gets shit done." That plot doesn't give anyone anything to talk about. The plot that is more glamorous is of forces aligning to shove this president down (with all the racial implications intended). It ain't a conspiracy theory. It's a natural outcropping of giving a public some compelling reason to watch your network.
Why, with the death of Walter Cronkite, might Jon Stewart and The Daily Show be seen as the most trustworthy source of news (even beyond any worthless online poll)? Perhaps because Stewart's show has to whittle it down to a half-hour of shit you actually need to be informed about and not idly filling time with what is, really, fake news.