You and I complain about this a lot. Ok, maybe it’s just Heather and I complaining about it. We have gone back and forth on this topic for years now. We get angry at big media for putting so many resources against stories like Jon and Kate, Britney, etc. and they ignore health care policy, climate change, education policy, et al. After we calm down, we remember that all of these evil media empires are motivated by profit and that you and I are the customers. This is what we are asking for. Sure, we subscribe to the Atlantic Monthly and readers of this blog know that I will link to it over and over again (see the next paragraph). We also get the Washingtonian, People Magazine, Bicycling and yes, US Weekly. There are nights when I am happy to pickup US Weekly and read the captions because it doesn’t involve my brain. Reality TV does a nice job of not using up any processing power after a long day at work as well.
Ta-Nehise Coates post about the coverage we deserve, most of which I have excerpted below, spoke to me. He is responding to many other posts a few weeks ago. If you have time, browse a few of them, but if you don’t at least stay with me a bit longer.
Tough medicine. It’s always more comforting to think that some all-powerful being (rich white men, the media, big business etc.) has brainwashed “The People.” But when you start delving into this stuff, you realize that often those institutions are performing in the service of actual human beings, many of them not so rich, and not so powerful.
“The People” aren’t noble. And they aren’t evil, either. After dealing with my own writing, with my own family, and with my own person, I find it difficult to muster the energy to master the details of climate change. And I write for a living. But damn if I can barely keep my living room clean.
I thought about this last week while attempting to follow through on a promise to my family, to cook more. I grew up in household where my Dad cooked. My cornbread game is not to be slept on. But cooking right, and cleaning right is hard work, and takes a lot of time. There is a reason people go to McDonald’s every night for dinner. Perhaps the reason isn’t a good one, but it’s not stupid or pathological.
Ditto with political coverage. The shouting heads exist for a reason–we invented them.