Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Important Things

On the Twitter machine Jay Rosen explains why gaffes about historical trivia or johnwayne/johnwaynegacy get more attention than, say, a desire to cut the minimum wage or claims that tax cuts increase revenues:

The sweet spot is a mistake that allows the press to prosecute the error without sounding too political.

The press feels empowered to jump all over these trivial things while not empowered to point out facts when two sides disagree or to explain the horrible consequences of certain policies. Aside from failing to educate the public, this has an additional pernicious effect. It helps to convince the vast majority of people who only kinda sorta pay attention to politics that Maureen Dowd is right, that this trivial bullshit is what really matters in politics.