"The Arabs have decided to jack up the price of oil another 20 percent. The C.I.A. has been caught opening Sen. Humphrey's mail. There's a civil war in Angola, another one in Beirut. New York City's facing default, they've finally caught up with Patricia Hearst ... and the whole front page of the Daily News is Howard Beale." -Diana Christensen, Network
I can't help feel this way as I look at the homepages of all the news sites this morning. The Times, CNN, the Posts (Washington and New York), BBC: It's all Trump, all the time (again). And isn't that a depressing reality. The Times couldn't have put it any better when it commented "Biden has the Oval Office, but Trump has center stage." One could be forgiven for not noticing the fact that in the past day there were not one but two important elections, in Wisconsin and Chicago; Israeli police raided a mosque in Jerusalem; a tornado in Missouri caused multiple deaths and injuries; a study was released suggesting that, despite years of reports to the contrary, there are absolutely zero health benefits to the moderate consumption of alcohol; and in South Africa, a plane had to make an emergency landing because of a cobra in the cockpit. (Some headlines write themselves.)
Does the latest Trump news warrant wall-to-wall coverage? In fact it does, considering the historical merit. Does it call for the resurrection of the Trump circus? Obviously not. But here we are, déjà vu all over again. And it's just the beginning. Which calls to mind a line from another classic movie about journalists and journalism, Broadcast News, where character Aaron Altman, watching a particularly sordid and sensationalized piece on the evening news being reported by his rival Tom Grunick, remarks to his colleagues in the newsroom, rapt by the spectacle: "Can somebody put on the news for a minute?" (Which is also how I happened to feel when I came across this Jacob Bernstein piece in the Times, on the ex-fiance of two weeks of Rupert Murdoch, which has all the news value of what I had for breakfast — which, as I'm on a diet, wasn't nearly enough. Isn't it comforting to know what an influence the National Enquirer and Inside Edition continue to have on our establishment media?