Monday, August 15, 2005

What is News?

Hot on the heels of the last post comes this question: What is news?

Skipping the obvious and correct answer, "News is what the media prints," I'd like to address issues such as Malkin's printing of the divorce rumor/confirmation. Was this news?

Yes, it was, and it will be covered as such by several outlets. Cindy Sheehan is in the news, and anything that happens to her will be covered as such. For example, if she and her husband decided to renew their wedding vows where she camps outside George Bush's ranch, I bet that would have been news. In the same spirit, when the Bush twins were caught trying to buy drinks while underage, that was news as well. (A good litmus test of people getting incensed over instance A or B is to ask them what they felt about B or A. And then, if different, why.)

I don't have a problem per se with Ms. Malkin's printing the story - it will be out there in the papers anyway. My problems are twofold:

A.) As pointed out in John Cole's original article, she's a hypocrite. When it's a Republican personal issue, it's invasion of privacy. But when it's an anti-war person, all's fair in politics and partisanship.

B.)Her little thrust about "Assuming this report pans out, it will be interesting to see if Cindy Sheehan continues to insist that she and her husband "are on the same side of the fence" with respect to her anti-war activism." This is nothing more than speculation to back up her views (and don't forget, she's been wrong once about Cindy's story changing, preferring to follow Drudge rather than read the original story) and, you can feel it coming, a cheap shot. If you can't argue rationally, take a cheap shot. Nowadays, that's seen as wisdom and sense. The news itself doesn't condemn her - her take on it and her use of it does.

Ms. Malkin decides to guess that Mr. Sheehan is divorcing his wife due in part to her activities on the anti-war side. She's already shown a propensity to be a psychic, claiming Cindy's son wouldn't like what she was doing now, so saying she can just tell the divorce is over this protest/anti-war activity is par for the course. Of course, now she shouldn't be surprised if several people decide to read her mind to know exactly why she felt the need to trumpet this as proof of something. Of course, she will be. When you have flexible beliefs and standards, it always boils down to the simple axiom:

If I do it, it's okay. When you do it, it isn't.

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