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Less All Things Considered, more E! True Hollywood Story

Steve Gilliard, in the course of defending himself against charges that he has devoted too much attention to the 'Runaway Bride' story, says that we lefties need to stop being news snobs:

That's one of the problem with people on the left. After losing yet another election, they act outraged that people care about murders and runaway brides. They keep hoping for some kind of revolution where serious news matter. Have you ever seen English newspapers? You have tabloids and serious papers. But you don't hear people whining about it.


The folks are Romenesko were debating why they covered Krispy Kreme openings a couple of years back. They complained that it was just free advertising for the company. Now, while these folks had their noses up in the air, you had hour's long wait for these donuts as they hit new markets in the Northeast and West. The snobs missed the point that this was news ... If 50 people line up for a fucking donut, asking why is a good start. You cover what happens, not what you think should happen, and goddamnit, if people stand in line at 5:30 to get hot dounts, you should find out why, even if it is a free ad.

... Instead of wishing it wasn't news, we need to subvert it. We need to discuss it in wider terms, class, race, sex. We need to bring depth to the debate. ... But if you don't engage it, bring different perspectives to it, the media gets away clean again ... If they want to talk about runaway brides, let's talk about runaway brides, but intelligently, questioning the sex roles of men and women and the economic cost and pressure in a large wedding. There is fertile ground for smart people, but they have to seize the target and change the debate.

One of the great tricks of conservative pundits was to talk about ANY topic. No matter what it was, they had an opinion, got face time and then book deals. They saw this as fertile ground to extend the debate. We have to engage these issues and bring new perspectives on them.


There's a sort of snobishness about news on the left. I don't watch TV, I only read the Guardian. Give me a fucking break. Most people think Angel comes after Guardian and when you don't watch TV, you might as well say pinko hippie. If you want to change minds, you have to speak their language and it's in things people care about.

If you don't have an opinion on the latest circus, your opinion on more serious matters will not count. You don't have to spend every day repeating Eonline, but you have to understand the culture, even the vulgar parts, to change it. If you do not engage the debate at hand, you will become irrelevant. Even if the debate is not a big deal in the end. Walking away, as we did so many times before, is no longer an option.

I don't know if I agree with everything here, but Steve is dead on about the ability of conservatives to not only talk about any subject, but to be able to use any subject to advance their ideological agenda. This is why stupid shit like Runaway Brides and Elian Gonzalez and John Walker Lindh often works in their favor. Most people don't pay much attention to the news, and when they do, it's for stories like these. They hear a conservative spin put on all of them, and often this spin involves casting aspersions on our side. They don't hear shit from us, because we're on NPR talking about the World Trade Organization.

I'm not saying this is necessarily bad; there might very well be good reasons to continue focusing only on the actually important stuff. But there's no denying that this has a certain effect on public perception.

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