How news coverage changed for the worse

News is what is, well, new. The trouble with the Internet age is its insistent, nonstop demand for news faster than news happens. To satisfy this perceived need for new news products, writers are forced to improvise.


The result is consumers are too often offered instead questions: Will Obama finally take sides? Can Bernie be beaten? Or, What’s at stake on Super Tuesday? Worse, 5 takeaways from South Carolina.

None of them have real answers, just conjecture. Which isn’t news.

Anything to attract eyes and clicks when, to be honest, nothing new has actually happened.

Most of such pieces are empty of much new except opinion, which is called analysis, and reworked information from previous things you’ve read.

During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis I was in college, desperately eager to enter the news business. Russian missiles in Cuba. President Kennedy’s naval blockade. Russia removing its missiles. Every morning and again after lunch, I walked to a nearby newsstand to get the latest newspaper copy of what was new.

Sounds painfully quaint today.

Joe Biden thumped everyone else in South Carolina’s primary Saturday. So, he’s now enjoying the best 72 hours of news media coverage since his April campaign announcement —  what was it? — three years ago. Back on track. Rallying the middle road. Can he block Bernie? What’s next?


Bernie knew he was not going to win South Carolina. He wanted to lose by as little as possible. So, he was campaigning up in New England, trying to win Massachusetts and crush Elizabeth Warren’s hopes, send her off-camera to grab herself another beer.

These may also be the last 72 hours of realistic hope for Biden, the hapless candidate. Media has set itself (and us) up for the next stage in its non-stop, minute-by-minute coverage of this political horse race.

Tuesday night when results from 14 different states in a half dozen time zones start coming in, the new media narrative will likely be Bernie bounces back. Joe’s comeback derailed. Can Joe recover from this? Can Joe recover again? What’s next for Joe?

The Kentucky Derby is 1.25 miles long. It’s called “The most exciting two minutes in sports.”

When John Kennedy ran for president, he announced on Jan. 3 of an election year. Elizabeth Warren announced on New Year’s Eve just weeks after the 2018 midterm elections. She and others have been conniving to draw free media attention ever since. And they’ve gotten it.

U.S. presidential campaigns are no longer horse races, if they ever were. They’re marathons and require some serious adjustments in news coverage. Do we really need to know who’s ahead today, as opposed to Sunday? Is that the role of the once vital Fourth Estate?


In our industry’s understandable desperate drive to draw in customers, we may well be driving them away. Who would, by choice, subject themselves to a recounting of a 25-month-long horse race? Coming into the 800th turn……

No wonder barely half of Americans bother to vote. In some countries fighting for representative government, voters risk dying by gunfire or explosion in order to cast their lone vote.

In ours by the time an American election season actually arrives, 46 percent of us are so sick of the whole thing, we’d rather stop off for a cold one

Not pointing fingers here. I’m looking in the mirror.

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John Stossel 5:30 PM | July 13, 2024