It is a fundamental element of the “news” formula. Report the wars and riots, the political scandals and machinations, the celebrity sexual permutations (who did what to whom), the cute animal and/or baby story, and the disasters, natural or man made. The goal is to attract followers of the stories.
Who decides what is news? I love that bit of dialogue from A Christmas Story, where The Old Man (Darren McGavin) remarks on the “clodhopper in Griffith, Indiana who swallowed a yo-yo.” He declares, “That’s real news, not this politics slop!” I have agreed so many times,
We should think of news anchors as storytellers, like some bard in an ancient Mycaenean court, telling a story to satisfy the king. For me, the greatest of the modern news bards (storytellers) were Edward R Murrow and Walter Cronkite.
Murrow, reporting from London during The Blitz, was telling a story of epic, existential proportions. The British had to win. They were, in the Autumn of 1940, all that stood between survival and oblivion for Judaeo-Christian Civilization. That is not hyperbole.
Cronkite reported on the great human adventure of the Twentieth Century, the space program and the lunar landings. It was his signature story. The World has been searching for stories of epic dimensions ever since.
By necessity, we have to make stories melodramas, to attract and retain viewers or followers . Except the old formulas are no longer working. The ratings of the cable news channels are tanking. We don’t believe, or outright ignore, the contemporary bards. Each story demands a new sort of hook. If climate change fails to attract interest, find a new angle, a new champion. We’ve gone from Al Gore to Leonardo DiCaprio to Greta Thunberg, all in the course of a few short years. And if she fails, Pope Francis can stick his Argentinian schnozola into the story, as if anybody takes him seriously. The sex abuse and financisl malfeasance scandals in The Church have made him a symbolic castrato. Deal with those outrages, Holy Father, then circle back to deal with climate change.
So that’s enough. I am tired and satisfied with myself for presenting this post off the top of my head, as it were.
Night all. I love you.