Michael Jackson More Newsworthy than Afghanistan?
In my New Atlanticist piece “Michael Jackson Trumps Afghanistan in News Coverage” I explain why this in fact happened — despite Afghanistan getting a seven month head start and the year being only eight months old. The punchline:
[T]he Jackson story is phenomenally easy to cover: Point a camera at invited guests. It’s mostly speculation, reminiscences, and blather. And, frankly, it’s juicier fodder for the cable “news” networks, which mostly do infotainment during prime time absent breaking hard news.
The situation in Afghanistan is a slow-burning story. Coalition troops have been in country going on eight years and it might take decades of steady work to achieve our goals there. That’s very hard to cover on television even aside from the danger, complication, and cost. Aside from the occasional firefight and terrorist attack, it’s the theatrical equivalent of watching paint dry.
Oh: And coverage of Afghanistan has more than doubled since the beginning of the month.