Recently we wrote about the news fatigue that many people have. There is so much media today, illegitimate and legitimate, that there is overkill on what is reported, especially as to politicians and government.
We live in an era of trivial news reporting with little or no qualifications as to hard, meaningful news. Yes, it can be amusing, even interesting to some people, but is it really news?
For instance, there was an Associated Press story the past week that was headlined “New Governor to Use State Plane.” The meat, if it qualifies as such, to the story was that Gov. Mike Parson said he would use a state airplane for some of his visits around the state. But, he said, he will drive whenever he can, when it’s feasible. There has been some criticism in the past about governors using a state plane too much. Because a governor has time constraints, and to visit more than one city in a day, a plane is necessary.
We have defended a governor’s use of a plane to attend economic development groundbreaking ceremonies in a community and for other important events in small or large cities. People want to see their governor at such events. It adds significance to local events to have the governor attend. We feel strongly that a governor should visit around the state and listen to voters. That’s the best way to be informed about what is going on in Missouri.
Former Gov. Jay Nixon attended many events in Franklin County and in Washington. Sometimes he drove, other times he arrived and departed by a state plane due to time limitations. The average citizen doesn’t care how the governor traveled to an event in their town. He came. That’s what is important.
When we heard criticism about Sen. Claire McCaskill because she was going to campaign via an RV to reach a number of cities. She flew to one of them and “violated” her RV promise, so the criticism went. Is that a major issue, or trivial criticism and news?
Criticism of President Donald Trump is rampant. The length of the ties he wears has been a news item. Trump’s wife and daughters have been the subjects of trivial stories. Perhaps women are interested in what they wear, where they go, or who they were with. Most men aren’t.
The New York Times Sunday had a front page story about Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s slave lover at her home at the Monticello estate outside of Charlottesville, Va. It is now open to visitors. To historians, this probably is news. To most Americans today, it’s who is Sally, and who cares? For editors, what stories are published and what is front page news are judgment calls. Editors make these calls with every issue of their newspapers. This editor would not have put the story on the front page — maybe a short version in section A.
In the same issue of The Times, a story on Page 6A told of elephants in an area of South Africa that have no tusks and therefore no poachers. This editor would have put that story on the front page and put Sally Hemings on Page 6A. Why? People know about elephants. Few know about Sally. It’s a people-count judgment call!
Yes, we’ve been guilty of running some trivial news stories that aren’t of much interest to many readers.
The social internet mania has produced a herd of pseudo journalists!