Not So Great Britain

TV Tripe | June 20, 2007

The problem with television is that when the people on it are telling you one thing, they are not telling you a lot of other things.

Television is what I call a linear medium. It streams information at you one batch at a time. In contrast, a newspaper is a horizontal medium. It presents you with a variety of information in its daily package, spread out so you can pick and choose what you wish to read.

Last week, when television cable news was obsessing over the Paris Hilton non-story, it was, of course, depriving viewers of news about much more important topics, such as the goings-on in Congress, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the economy, the environment and the energy crisis. It’s hard to think of anything that is not more important than a silly heiress doing her time for violating the terms of her probation.

Then, to compound their sin of shallow-minded celebrity worship, some of the cable news people tried to blame it on Miss Hilton. That is obscenely stupid. The young woman goes places, but she has no power over the media, no way to manipulate them, no way to set their agenda. No celebrity commands the thundering herd of paparazzi and certainly does not make assignments for cable news shows.

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