If the national news has taught me anything, it’s to not bother watching it.
From the shallow reporting of important events, to the pick-and-choose coverage (academics call it agenda setting – they have a term for everything), it’s no wonder 21 percent of people between 18 and 29 get their news from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”
Yes, national news outlets cover the big stories, probably by reading what’s trending on Twitter, but their choices for everything else contain less usable information than an episode of “The Bachelor.”
CNN: “Radio host curses out Erin Andrews.” A Boston radio personality insulted Fox Sports reporter Andrews during a recent program one she wasn’t even on. Although I’m not sure you can curse someone out if you’re not actually speaking to them, I am sure this isn’t news.
Fox: “Danica: ‘I’m off the market’.” Danica McKellar, a 39-year-old actress who played supporting character Winnie Cooper on TV’s “The Wonder Years” (that went off the air in 1993) is engaged. Gripping.
MSNBC: Apparently this network has resigned itself to simply cover Obama’s vacations.
The American media have lost track of what’s truly important to their audiences and could take a few pointers from news sources around the world. Such as:
The Swazi Observer (Kingdom of Swaziland): “School infested with demons.”
If for some reason your school’s text message alert system was on the fritz, wouldn’t you want to know this?
“Demons have literally taken over Mdzimba High school near Dlangeni since Monday, where pupils are running amok and seeing visions,” according to The Observer. “As a result, a mass demon exorcism exercise has been carried out at the school since then … to no avail.”
That is hard-hitting stuff.
How about this:
Metro (London): “Man claims 140-year-old photo proves Nicolas Cage is a vampire.”
Jack Mord, an antiques dealer, has a photograph of a man taken in 1870 he claims is actor Nicolas Cage. According to the Metro, “Mr. Mord … believes the photo is of Nicolas Cage himself and proves the actor is a member of the ‘walking undead.’”
Given the Academy Award winner’s latest string of unfortunate movies (I can’t get past “Ghost Rider”), walking undead may be right. But let’s look at those pictures.
Oh, hey. That can’t be right. The man from 1870. Cage. They’re the same PERSON.
Manila Standard Today (Philippines): “Islanders prepare to fight ‘werewolves.’”
“Mysterious” animals have killed more than 200 goats on Sibale Island – the blood sucked dry, the hearts and livers ripped out. Authorities have warned residents to be on the lookout for werewolves.
Chief of police, Inspector Brian Odien, has deputized hundreds of volunteers to look for these shape shifters.
“Sa mga tanod upang magsagawa ng ronda lalo na sa gabi,” Odien said.
That dude’s serious.
Yes, the news throughout the rest of the world is warning us of demons, vampires and werewolves. What do the American media offer? “Things you didn’t know about French fries,” and “House votes to allow marijuana-related banking.”
Jason Offutt writes this column for The Examiner.