Mainstream Media Obsessed with Sex, Sex, Sex!
Cernig is outraged at the sex-obsessed American press.
I am now officially disgusted with America’s insular and navel-gazing punditry. En masse and on a bipartisan basis the media, commentators and bloggers have decided that the Edwards Affair story is more important than events in South Ossetia. What happened, folks, did your minds cloud over at contemplation of events beyond these hallowed shores?
Maybe someone can enlighten me as to why the story of yet another politician who ran as a Loyal Family Man but was unable twice to gain the highest of offfices being revealed as a lying hypocrite unable to keep it in his pants is remotely as newsworthy as a full-on war between one of the world’s great powers and a nation which is a vocal ally of the USA. Because I admit I’m utterly perplexed by the allocation of priorities here.
I almost wrote a variant of that post this morning, whilst looking for updates on the Georgia story and noting that the Edwards story dominated the front page of the Washington Post’s website. I went to the NYT website, though, and saw that the Georgia story was well covered there and, lacking a hook, let it go.
While Cernig and I are generally on the opposite sides of issues, I respect his integrity so decided to give the story another looksee. It turns out that, while there’s no doubt that the Edwards story is getting major play, the Russia-Georgia-South Ossetia story is getting far, far more. Indeed, even the Olympics is getting more coverage than the Edwards story.
The screencap at the top right of this post is from Memeorandum. As of this writing (6:37 Eastern Saturday evening) even the blogosphere has made Georgia the top focus [a marked contrast from 7:40 am, when, as Cernig's link shows, the top two-thirds of the page was dominated by Edwards coverage]. I say “even” because it’s a relatively hard story to opine upon, in that almost every political blogger already knew who John Edwards is and understood the concepts of lying and adultery. Conversely, most are catching up on the Russia-Georgia-South Ossetia story.
I went to Newseum, which archives the front pages of virtually every paper in the world, to get a broader sample of the mainstream papers. I was pleasantly surprised.
The major national papers all gave more prominent treatment to the Russia-Georgia clash than Edwards.
The New York Times:
The Washington Post:
The Wall Street Journal:
Even the conservative Washington Times, which presumably has no love for Edwards, did so:
My hometown paper, the Anniston (Alabama) Star did, too:
Indeed, the only paper I checked that played the Edwards story first — and rightfully so — is the Charlotte Observer, the major paper in Edwards’ home state.
I tend not to watch much television news but I presume that the 24/7 coverage skewed towards the Edwards scandal. But that’s, no pun intended, a sexier story.
I must admit, I’m surprised by this outcome. The publishers of papers around the country chose to highlight a story that was very unlikely to sell papers over one that would. Let’s face it, the average person is much more interested in celebrity sex scandals — and this one has plenty of good angles to it — and not than in foreign policy. Much less conflicts over obscure secessionist areas.
Let’s face it, most Americans were only vaguely aware until yesterday that there’s a second place called Georgia. I have my PhD with a specialization in national security policy and would only be somewhat more informed about this conflict than the man on the street if I hadn’t been surrounded for the past several months with smart people who study European politics for a living.