During the 2008 Presidential election cycle I admit I was unduly glued to and perhaps addicted to the daily (even hourly) updates of poll results, pundit opinions, slips and gaffes and shining moments of the candidates.
I realized though that in large measure it is just entertainment – that’s what it’s all out there for, to provide “content” for all the old and especially new media channels. Channels which need fresh content – even if its only mildly different, or some other expert’s re-analysis of the same incident – to get fresh eyeballs. Page visits, newspaper or magazine pages, television – politics generates feeling, which is something a lot of scripted content just doesn’t do as intensely.
This cycle I’ve moderated my intake of “news” trying to curate content for myself. I bypassed all the shows pretty much on election night – and even now the “day after” the headlines I see are still the same “non news” we’ve been seeing / hearing for, literally, months – the Republicans won the House in a landslide, made major gains in the Senate. But until we actually see how this begins to affect legislation – the Bush tax cuts? The future of Obamacare? A public works jobs plan? – the headlines, and punditry, remain for me devoid of news. A friend sent me a link to photos of signs at the recent “Rally to Restore Sanity” that drew 250,000 people in DC. My favorite sign was “Without CNN, I would have no idea what was happening on Twitter.” Which I think pretty much sums things up here.
Now, I admit I won’t be able to resist when some of these Tea Partiers like new Sen. Rand Paul start actually shaking things up, and introducing bills. In a few months, the news-tainment industry should have plenty of fresh content, and news crews can stop repeating themselves – and Twitter.