Monday, June 6, 2011

Hey, That's Our Story

OK, fine, I'll do a Weiner post.

Here's the thing: while I don't really disagree with Conor Friedersdorf that the press should find something else to do, we all know that's entirely futile. What I really think is what I said about the White House gatecrasher scandal a while back: the cable nets are ruining the fun of a good, low-grade Washington scandal. I speak, here, as a political junkie. Part of the fun of being a political junkie is hearing great stories that others don't really know. And yet, these days, even a nothing of a "scandal" as the Anthony Weiner thing is splashed across the TV for hours, and days, at a time. Of course, this isn't particular to politics; it's the same process that makes local murders or fires or freakish weather events into national news.

Of course, true insiders (and I've spent some time as one on and off over the years) get to hear stories that never make the news, or perhaps don't make the news for a long time: what boss on the Hill tends to throw things at staffers, or...well, there's all sorts of good stuff. But as a result of changes in technology and the way that the news media is organized, I get the sense that it's harder and harder for good salacious story (or even, as in the Weiner case, a poor imitation of a salacious story) to be minimally reported -- so outsiders can find out about it -- but not jump to full-out cable net scandal.

So, mostly, I'm not going to jump all over the press for obsessing over something stupid; my attitude about that is mostly thus it always was, and thus it always will be. I just am a bit sad that those of us who are the natural audience for these sorts of stuff have to now share it with everyone else.


  1. So it's kinda like when everybody else started buying R.E.M. records or Nirvana?

  2. Yeah, I suppose that's not entirely unfair.

    I guess I'd argue that while REM certainly could withstand the weight of being a mega-band, the Weiner story or the Gary Condit story really couldn't withstand being a Major National Story.

  3. I was very, very young during the Chandra Levy murder scandal, so I only really remember Newsweek covers and the like, but why wouldn't a theoretical murder by a congressman of a staffer he had had an affair with be national news? Or is it that the media was so desperate to make it a national story that they Vince Foster'd the story up?


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