News Feeding Frenzy: Making the Story Bleed
When it comes to the news, we’re all a bunch of roaming carnivores. We might feed on different levels of the food chain, but by day’s end everyone gets a piece of the story.
A good news story is like a fresh kill. The less timid news hounds spot their prey’s weakness and rush in. Once the flesh is pierced, the rest of the ravenous pack joins the slaughter. The thrill of the hunt outweighs all decorum. The desire for the story takes precedence over such inconveniences as moral decency.
Tabloids, partisan blogs, and celebrity gossip media outlets are ripe with first kill news predators. Even so, this bloodlust behavior is not limited to such outlets. Even seemingly “respectful” news gathering organizations have been known to hunt down a story for the thrill of increased ratings or readership. Thus the world is full of Tiger Woods infidelity stories.
After the initial feeding frenzy subsides, the more timid or purportedly refined news junkies come out from the shadows to clean the carcass. Instead of participating in the initial uncouth chaos, these vultures wait for the scraps. Through careful, condescending analysis, they pick the bones clean.
These headline carrion scavengers host talk shows, produce television news segments, and write weekly opinion columns for the local newspaper. Instead of directly reporting the salacious details of Tiger Woods’ indiscretions, they tackle the more civilized or tangental implications of the story. They move the story to what’s wrong with society, or what’s wrong with the media, or what’s wrong with the world, or what’s wrong with everything else but their own actions.
When the day is done, the bones remain. . . left for the worms to decompose with unauthorized biographies and historical perspectives. Tiger Woods is food for our salacious appetite. And we eat and eat until we smell the scent of fresh prey.
Excuse me while I wipe my face and wash my hands.