This post from Wil Wheaton reminded me why NPR annoyed me this morning. They had some commentator come on to say that Obama’s speech failed because she didn’t think it was as good as Michelle Obama’s or Clinton’s. Even if that’s true (and I think the speeches were all good but they were focused on different aspects of the message), I wasn’t aware that Obama was running against Clinton and Michelle Obama. I thought he was running against Romney.Wheaton (at the link) goes on to call out whatever fool listed things you could do in the time taken by Clinton's speech to say "Because reading 12 pages of Proust is so much more important than understanding how badly the GOP has **** the country" and goes on from there.
Absolutely right, n&m and Wil Wheaton! The persistent I-journalism and snarkiness that made me give up entirely on NEWSWEEK and a lot of other "real" media outlets (cough *TIME*cough) fails to notice that in its obsession with being "relatable," mainstream journalism is losing track of the big picture. It doesn't report; it opines. It doesn't analyze; it gives lists like the stupidly precious one that Wheaton cites.
Articles begin with four paragraphs of how the person discovered the issue or how it relates to hir life or, better yet, makes hir feel. The article continues with opinion, mentions the subject of the story, and ends with a catchy snapper of an ending that says nothing. When I hear or read "My journey began" or "I recall as a child" or some such thing, I say to myself "who cares what you think?" and turn the page or the NPR dial. (What I actually say is "Who gives a -- what you think?" but this is a family blog.)
Opinions are cheap, and, like feelings, I've got 'em, and so do you. If you don't know more than I do about something--and although there are well-informed journalists, sometimes it's clear that they don't have a clue--then spare me your opinion.
I didn't realize how bad this had gotten or how much I wanted actual, you know, facts and context until I started to read THE ECONOMIST, which despite its political bent actually provides information beginning with the first paragraph. Bill Clinton's speech gave that kind of information, too.
Why can't we have information instead of "Why Clinton won over Obama in the media" or "5 Ways Michele Obama Gets Fabulous Arms" or "How Random Person feels about an issue that he's never give five minutes worth of thought to" or "Random stupid quotation from a politician" or "Click through this slide show to see 10 political scandals"?
Why does the media turn every issue into some kind of gladiator sport with winners and losers?
Why does an episode of THE DAILY SHOW contain more information in 22 minutes than an hour of cable news?
I know: I'm not providing facts here, either. But this is a blog, not a news outlet, and I am not a journalist. To the journalists out there: we are hungry for this stuff, which is why we liked the Big Dog's speech. How about it?