I kid you not: I have been waking up with “The Music Man” ditty “Iowa Stubborn” ringing in my head two days running [ “We can be cold as our falling thermometer in December if you ask about our weather in July; And we’re so by God stubborn, we could stand touchin’ noses for a week at a time and never see eye-to-eye….You really ought to give Iowa a try!”] and I am not happy about it. The reason I am suffering from Meredith Willson-itis, of course, is because the network and cable news shows will not shut up about the Iowa caucuses, and have been allowing their endless, pointless, non-informative, inside-baseball, useless analysis of nothing (analyzing polls is the definition of “nothing”) for how long now? A week? A month? Forever?
And yet there is no news! Nothing has happened in Iowa yet that is newsworthy, and there is a fair argument to be made that the caucuses themselves deserve only passing coverage even after the results are in. The Iowa caucus winner almost never wins the Presidency (you would have better odds picking the winner having a chimp pick a name out of a hat), and because of the screwy demographics of the voters and the weird procedure, it isn’t surprising that the result is, or should be, irrelevant. The game, supposedly, is that it isn’t winning that matters, but exceeding or failing to meet “expectations.” Whose expectations? Why, the news media’s, of course!
Reporting on what might happen is not journalism but prophesy, and maybe it would be excusable with a public that is completely versed on world events and is current and informed on everything else going on of significance, but we are not. While the media are blathering on ad infinitum about Rick Santorum’s last minute surge in the polls, and how Newt says he won’t win, and Mitt says he will win, while Rob Paul says he’ll win and Michele Bachmann says she might surprise everyone, most of the public..
- Doesn’t understand the significance of the power shift in North Korea
- Isn’t paying attention to the riots in Egypt
- Hasn’t been briefed on the building popular resistance to Putin in Russia
- Knows nothing about the rising dissent in China
- Has no clue what is going on in Syria
- Only vaguely knows something is amiss in Iran
- Can’t explain the perils facing Iraq
- Missed the GAO’s report about the frightening financial obligations the US is incurring in Social Security and Medicare
- Doesn’t know what Fast and Furious is and why the Justice Department’s mishandling of it and current obfuscations are important
- Hasn’t heard that a parasite in the Bay area is “turning honeybees into zombie slaves”
- Doesn’t know that Katy Perry and Russell Brand are getting divorced
- Don’t know that if they miss seeing “Hugo” in 3D while they can, their life will be incomplete..
I could go on, because literally every single one of these and many more are more useful and important to the average American than what might happen in tonight’s Iowa caucuses. expecially since we’ll be able to find out easily what did happen in Iowa tomorrow, if we give a damn, and there’s little reason why we should. And you know what the apologists for NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and the rest will say when a media critic slams the broadcast media for not keeping Americans informed enough to be competent participants in democracy? “We don’t have enough time to cover stories in depth”!!!
They do have time.
They just waste their time, and ours, covering nothing at all.