22 June 2010


In looking back over my sources, I realize I'm relying far too heavily on cnn.com for my links. Now I should perhaps explain myself.

First, I don't watch cable news, or any television news for that matter. However, I am fully aware of the phenomenon of cable news: you can't escape it in doctor's offices, restaurants and bars, airports, and even some places that call themselves coffee shops. So I'm well aware of how these outlets, as money making ventures, are more about bread and circuses than they are about information, and that -- in perfect Baudrillardian fashion -- their effect is to smother an occurrence in discourse, to turn it into an event, and to take us as far away as possible from understanding it.

Second, cnn.com provides in both its content and delivery a perfect illustration of the poverty of most news organizations. Its content tends to be a mix of celebrity gossip, political chatter, human tragedy and triumph (e.g. baby falls down well, disabled man competes in marathon, young girl murdered, etc.), and general catastrophe (forest fires, oil spills, etc.). Its delivery is in breezy stories that rarely go beyond five paragraphs and quite often, especially in the case of political chatter, are three paragraphs or less.

So, let it be said that I do not link to cnn.com because I think it is a solid news source. However, as infotainment goes, it's a great example, and I won't link to foxnews.com because I don't link to right wing websites, especially ones that pander to racist elements.

Third, I actually get most of my news from NPR, The Guardian, Washington Post, and New York Times.

One of the things that tires me out, whether it's on the Washington Post, CNN, or Chronicle of Higher Education sites, is the pathetic level of commentary to be found on the "comments" section of articles. Reading the comments section, as I've noted elsewhere, can convince a person that the majority of readers are half-literate racists or simply -- and there's no other way to put it -- absolute morons. I rarely read them anymore, but sometimes I make that mistake and it often leads me to such depression that I have to step away from the computer. The stupid seem to have more time on their hands to flood comment boards.

Maybe it's time to get away from current events and popular culture, although it's the absurdity of both that often makes me write.

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