Is it news?

In the past few days, the John Edwards mea culpa has been generating a lot of commentary from the "real" media (mainstream newspapers and televisions pundits) and the "new" media (blogs). The NYTimes said that they didn't think that the story was really news, but that the John McCain "tryst" was, so they'd explored that instead. Others have said that because the Enquirer was doing the initial reporting, they'd passed. Still others have claimed that it was a liberal conspiracy to protect their own.

My problem is that this is just not news. Politicians have affairs. Big whoop. Unless this is Eliot Spitzer breaking the law, who cares??? Not I.

I repeat what I said only a few months ago
A number of years ago, I watched Woodward and Bernstein give an interview on the lasting effects of Watergate. They basically agreed: the good thing was that people did more investigative journalism, the bad thing was that what had been private no longer was (they used the example of a former President who "everyone" knew had a mistress but no one felt the need to expose because that was private business). I have to say "amen".

There's a line between illegal and immoral, between punishable-by-law and sleazy. Since the Watergate era, we've been exposed to an ever-increasing wave of Too Much Information. I really only need to know about the illegal stuff. The "questionable judgment" stuff? Not so much.
I worry about the current political climate, where it's not enough to have a platform and ideas, you also have to tear down your opponent. Where's the value in that? It doesn't help us, the little people you're supposedly trying to serve.

If I were a bigger "name", if I had more influence than this tiny blog, I'd scream at the candidates: stop the nonsense. Let me know who you are, what you stand for, and how that differs from the other guy. I don't care what you think about the other's personality, lifestyle, childhood or taste in ice cream. And I don't want to hear from anyone about anything that really isn't relevant. Media of both types, and on both sides, stop stirring the pot, report intelligently and let the blabbering bloggers just yell into the void.

It's enough to make me watch endless reruns of Law & Order and the Olympics and bury my head until sometime mid-2009.


Aravis said...

I'm in total agreement with you. This is not news.

I saw the first negative campaign ad the other day and heaved a huge sigh. And so it begins.

At least I'll be too busy with coursework soon to pay much attention to the television. If someone will kindly nudge me on Election Day, I'll take my nose out of a book long enough to vote. Other than that, I don't want to hear anything more about it.

camillofan said...

Politicians invite judgment on "private" issues when they make family and character part of the package they market to us voters. They reap what they sow.

As much as I didn't care to know about it (because, yeah, it's private, and also because Edwards had been the candidate I favored early on), I'm not sure it was none of my (as in, the public's) business. I mean, there's the issue of the big money his political action committee paid his girlfriend for videos or some such. And he wasn't out of the vice-presidential race completely, was he?

Finally, I think the media did okay on this one. It was only semi-important, and it really didn't dominate the news.