Saturday, May 20, 2006

They Think We Can't Handle It: So, It's No News for Us!

The news division of the Roanoke Times (contrasted to the editorial staff, which actually does it's job) increasingly dishes out short wire-service blurbs, fluff-as-news, and downright neglect of important issues. How bout giving us more detail about bills before Congress or the House of Delegates? How about better coverage of the primary? How bout giving us more than stadium issues?

Today we see fiction-as-news or celebrity of the trivial played out as if it were news. Three our of four front-page stories are utterly trivial. First there's the non-news that "Moms Get Support." This surely belongs in the extra section. Next "DaVinci protest not stated in code" and "Hackers Unleash Fraud Upon Ugly Dog Contest."

A look at page two is even worse. First there's "O.C. character breathes her last." That's right, page two is reserved for us to learn a fictional prime-time soap opera character died. Then there's "Prince Charles, sons, admit to indulgences in reality TV." It's now news that someone watches TV.

We also learn of "Another mishap with singer's baby." Here, we learn there wasn't a mishap. The actress slipped, but nothing happened and no one was hurt. But the motherhood police are activated anyway. (I am no fan of Britney, but this is ridiculous.) And then there's that the runaway bride's (of last year's fame) relationship "may be called off for good." The outrageous media-seeker who disappeared and made a pathetic celebrity of herself is in the news again. Please.

All of this is distraction from news warranting front-page coverage. The administration continues in its merry unraveling of everything we hold dear. And the print, radio and televised media pretend it's all about fun and games.