Tuesday, 6 March 2012


On certain slow news days, when the headlines are dominated by pageantry, corrections, retractions, revisitations and pro forma events, I wonder if there is not some sort of viral persuasion for disengagement and even repulsion in circulation among mainstream media outlets. This anti-news is a confirmed and competent school of journalism, it seems, and latches on to the day’s events with a subtle and ingenious mechanism to distract and dissuade. Such reporting is not of the opportunist variety, taking advantage of gladiatorial games or easy-chair terrorization to obscure substantive stories, but something else—something insidious and lulling enough to cause the public to take leave of that estate. Focus is not magnification, and as bad as the idleness that can be inspired through misinformation or omission is, the idolatry is even more dangerous.