Thursday, June 14, 2018

You Aren't Reading The News

Instead, you're being told a story.

On travel, at a Starbucks, my eyes wandered over a New York Times in a rack. Their Korea headline had something about Trump's dangerous gamble or something like that. Coming back to the hotel, another newspaper's above-the-fold story showed the Pope holding a black child and had a headline telling us that the Pope wanted more lenient immigration laws.

The first one was silly. Prior to the summit, the Norks were flinging missiles all over the place and detonating atomic bombs. Now they aren't. To my mind, missiles plus nukes is more gamble-y than no missiles and no nukes. I couldn't figure out why anyone would write a headline about Trump's gamble under those circumstances, but there it was in the NYT.

The Pope story really hit me. The Pope says a lot of things. I'm no fan of Francis, but he's also said things about abortion. I seriously doubt the newspaper in question has ever run an above-the-fold story with the Pope holding a black child with a headline saying he thought we should stop slaughtering black babies by the hundreds of thousands. And yet he has said that and it is a far more defining feature of Catholicism and representative of the Pope than immigration is.

The reason those headlines were written with the supporting stories attached was that they were the next chapter in the story the newspaper was telling you. Just like a regular novel, there are stories going on all around the hero, but it's the hero's story and one story in particular that is laid out in the book. It's not even the most important story, either.

During the course of a Harlequin romance novel, where Theresa is wondering if Brian is thinking about Muriel while he strokes her hair and tells her sweet lies, there are other things going on in the world. China is building up a military presence in Southeast Asia and Iran is spinning centrifuges while British police officers are arresting English fathers for objecting to Muslims raping their daughters. You don't need to know any of that, this is a story about Theresa, Brian and Muriel. For all it matters, Pakistan and India could be trading nukes and annihilating millions, but what matters to the story is Brian's fidelity to Theresa in the face of slutty Muriel's advances.

That's the state of the modern media. They are there to tell you a story, not tell you the news. Oh sure, one of the largest annual marches in DC is the March for Life, but that's not part of the novel, so they leave it out just like the Harlequin author leaves out drug-gang murders in Mexico. Yes, they're happening, but that's not relevant to the development of the plot.

Never add things to a story that don't advance the plot!

So there you have it. If you see newspapers and TV news as a serialization of the novel the MSM wants you to read, it makes more sense and you can stop yelling at them about not covering or badly covering important events. You'll feel better when you do.

"Yes, Brian?"
"Italian bonds just turned into mounds of  worthless paper and Deutsche Bank is totally insolvent."
"Oh my goodness. That makes the Nigerian unrest even more unstable as Star Africa Commodities & Minerals Limited will need to liquidate some of their holdings to make up for unredeemable deposits!"
"Good Lord. That's just what Muriel was saying."
(I knew it! He's still seeing that witch!)


Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Well put.

K T Cat said...