This week’s white trash piñata

I am developing a theory about a certain kind of news story.

I think that the 24 hour news stations cultivate a kind of news coverage of crimes and/or incidents that serve no other purpose than to give a certain segment of the audience something to feel superior about.

Case in point, this week: this whole “Was it the pit bull or the ferret?” thing. Last week it was some woman who carried her purse dog into the store instead of her toddler. Before that, it was something else.

Why is this national news? I think because it gives a certain kind of person (and a lot of these people I have noticed, are right wingers) the ability to stand in the breakroom at work and cluck their tongues and say “Now, those sorts of people shouldn’t be allowed to breed….” or the like.

I got to see this written in a grand scale in Bill O’Reilly’s coverage of the Katrina aftermath. The first line of this kind of thinking reads, “Those people are so much worse than *I* am…” and proceeds from there.

Sure, some of these people have serious problems. Some of them are just poor and victims of circumstance. (As if that’s not a serious problem…) But I think the sole reason we hear about them on a 24 hour global news cast is because it drives a certain demographic to watch Nancy Grace every day.

“Sure, I may be fat, lazy and feel sorry for myself, but at least I’m not THAT tragic SOB.”

Roll that around in your head a bit…


  1. Moralizing superiority gets you high.

    24 hour news networks are the pushers.

    The pathetic lives of people who are trapped in jobs they hate or relationships with persons they loathe are brightened each day with a bit of Rupert Murdoch’s patented Schadenfreudetm.

    What’s the harm in that?

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