Sunday, October 15, 2006

"It was something like 70 inches long, and there was no way we could have fit it in..."

[Posted by reader_iam]

Up front, let me first say to someone who was regularly hanging out here for a while--as a proxy for those with similar questions--that the reason I'm doing this post, apart from the obvious, is not out of hatred of the media, but out of the principle so well put by the referenced individual:
I would turn the old saying, “No News is Good News” around, to frame it as, “Good News is No News.” Fair or unfair, the news media has never put as much energy into covering the happy stuff. It’s a matter that goes far beyond Iraq or the New York Times.

Likewise, I'm putting my energy into covering the egregious and ridiculous stuff. If anyone chooses to regard me, personally, reader_iam, as a dismisser or hater of journalism--big "j" or otherwise--generically, that would be entirely your problem. (Not to mention wrong, but then, that's just a symptom of the problem--error!--to which I just referred. Yours, not mine.)

That said, I can't believe what I just read! (Or at least, don't want to, though I must.)

I now completely understand, viscerally, the phrase "jumped the shark." At last! Upon reading this.
How come, a letter writer wants to know today, the Foley scandal was featured on Page 1 while the story about Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was far back in the paper if it appeared at all?

There’s a short answer and a long answer.

The short answer is that former Congressman Mark Foley of Florida has been big national news while the Reid story has been small potatoes, so far at least.

“And why is that?” If you ask that, you get the long answer, which follows.

In the Foley matter, the substance of the story is sex, albeit gay sex. It is straightforward, so to speak — black and white, simple to understand. There is no gray. Here was a member of Congress, the head of a congressional caucus that wants to protect children from Internet porn, sending salacious e-mails to young men who had worked as pages in the House and whom he had befriended as a mentor and adviser. Moreover, he belongs to a party that has made “family values” one of its mottos. Confronted about his dirty e-mails, he quits, goes into a clinic and blames his drinking.

Compared to that, the Reid story is dry as dust.

It involves a land deal in Las Vegas, a deal in which the Democratic senator from Nevada cleared more than a million dollars in profit.

The Associated Press investigated the transaction and this week sent along a story. It was something like 70 inches long, and there was no way we could have fit it in the paper. We did use a short version at the top of B5 on Thursday. It summarized the situation in the briefest of possible ways.

That $1 million dollar figure is wrong, of course.

As, for example, Patterico points out.

What a sorry, sorry pass to which we have come, if a newspaper--any newspaper--can publish something like that with not just a straight collective face, but with a sense of self-righteousness (even, perhaps, "vainglory"?).

Think on it.

"Big national news" as opposed to "small potatoes.".

"Dry as dust."

"... no way we could have fit it in."

"[I]n the briefest of possible ways."

I'd say more about that which was temporized--and in the most amazingly condescending way, quite openly and specifically directed toward the readers (!!!) of the newspaper in question--as "not seem[ing] all that fascinating," except that I don't make a general practice of balancing my laptop on the ledge next to the pot into which I piss. Or puke.

Plus, I'm just so damned tired. Just tired, and "of it."

(And newly too busy to want to make a point of getting over it 'out of principle," unlike previously. Just for now, anyway, I think--why the hell bother?)

Update: You know what? I've just re-read that story, yet again, and I'm beginning to wonder if I've been naive, or to put it more bluntly, "had." Maybe it really is a joke or satire? And I haven't looked into it enough?

Truly, this is one of those occasions that not only do I want to be wrong, but I'm even willing to be exposed as a silly ass in the cause.

Really. Please tell me that a real paper didn't publish that piece in all seriousness. I'd be much the better for it, trust me.

Later: Modified to turn the "vainglory" reference into a link to a previous post.