Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Spare Me the Details

Like the fabled Henny Penny whose dire prediction that the sky was falling upset all the townspeople, the members of the media often get it wrong. Despite that they remain quite taken with themselves, believing their jobs are a building block of democracy, and that if some of them are kept out of the loop as a consequence of spreading wrong information and incurring the wrath of our current administration, America will surely descend into chaos.

Yet so many news purveyors are little more than gossips running around spreading rumors, like the one claiming "no designer will make clothes for the new First Lady," which is clearly false since she keeps showing up places fully dressed. Then there is all that inane fluff that nobody needs to know, like when has-beens Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong winner for Best Picture at the recent Academy Awards show. This bit of folderol is now in its second day of deep discussion by news outlets as respectable as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and a gaggle of TV stations seeking increased ratings.

You'll find out eventually....
In a separate category there are people like Brian Williams, the news anchor for NBC who just plain made stuff up. After a slap on the wrist and some time off for bad behavior he is once again a news anchor, this time over at MSNBC, home of the verbally diarrhetic Rachel Maddow. And back in 2004, then leading news anchor Dan Rather had to apologize for a "mistake in judgment" concerning bogus documents for a 60 Minutes segment charging that President Bush had received favorable treatment in the National Guard, a false story that dominated the news for fully two weeks.

The media also loves to report on itself. Consider the story that President Trump will not be attending the upcoming White House Press Correspondents' dinner. I have heard about this trivial pursuit no less than four times -- on TV, on the radio and in print -- as if it's something we all need to know in order to carry on. Or that former news babe Gretchen Carlson, who dressed like a prostitute for most of her career (which began in a bathing suit when she was named Miss America in 1989), sued her boss Roger Ailes for making repeated "sexual advances" and won 20 million dollars in a settlement. (Poor Gretchen.)

I say forget what other people you will never meet are doing and live your own life. Whatever you absolutely need to know will eventually find you. Frankly, if the Germans (or the Russians or ISIS or the Martians or the Zombies) are coming to get me, I'd rather not know ahead of time and go cram myself into an attic with a few bags of oyster crackers and some juice boxes and hope they pass me by. Why spoil an otherwise nice day?

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