Watchdog Blog

Barry Sussman: Delaying Tactics and Dumbing Down

Posted at 1:58 pm, November 19th, 2009
Barry Sussman Mug

There’s a paragraph in a column by E.J. Dionne in the Nov. 19th Washington Post that jumped out at me. The column was about Republican delaying tactics in Congress. It included this thought:

“Republicans know one other thing: Practically nobody is noticing their delay-to-kill strategy. Who wants to discuss legislative procedure when there’s so much fun and profit in psychoanalyzing Sarah Palin?”

Fun, such as a leggy cover photo of Palin in Newsweek, endless coverage elsewhere in print and TV. Palin lets the press avoid real issues.

Look at it like this: Whenever you see Palin on TV, or a Palin spread in a newspaper, that’s time and space and effort that could be devoted to news. It’s not only Palin, there’s always some diversion. Michael Jackson probably is the biggest diversion for 2009. If not them, there are plenty of freak stories available from the tabloids.

Palin, Jackson, missing, murdered girls in Aruba explain why most of the press failed in reporting the runup to the Iraq war, or the housing bubble or so many important stories of somewhat lesser moment. They’re busy elsewhere.

It’s called the dumbing down of America. Used to be, Rupert Murdoch was the leader. Now he’s just one in a crowd.

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