Saturday, June 09, 2007

The news: pathetic, appalling.

I spent two hours in a chair at the blood bank yesterday donating platelets. While I was there, I watched the last ten minutes of Walker, Texas Ranger and most of the movie Mystery Men, and a lot of cable news during the commercials. I was appalled by the snippet of cable news I saw. For two hours, the big three cable news stations covered nothing but Paris Hilton. Two hours of aerial helicopter shots of Paris's house, and nothing else. The news scroll at the bottom revealed actual news: that Peter Pace (chairman of the Joint Chiefs) resigned, that President Bush was preparing to meet with Pope Benedict in Rome, that an American was just arrested in Iran, Vladimir Putin proposes an alternative to the increasing hostilities over planned US deployment of a missile shield in Europe. But apparently none of this was as newsworthy as speculation over whether or not a rich blonde girl in LA was going to jail for probation violation.

To be sure, Paris Hilton's legal issues are news -- but not for the sensationalistic reasons the news stations are pushing it. Her case is important because is highlights the fact that we've got a different justice system in this country for the rich, powerful, connected, and pretty. I'm mostly okay with the concept of a "special needs" section of the jail, because I can think of a lot of reasons to separate celebrities and cops from the general prison population. But the fact that she apparently got released to home detention because she claimed, essentially, that jail would stress her out, is ridiculous. And if anyone not of the rich-powerful-connected-pretty set tried this, they'd be laughed at.

So, yeah -- two hours of intermittent cable news, and I'm appalled. This is why I get my news online. And, speaking of, if you're not using it you definitely need to install the Bug Me Not plugin for Firefox. It makes news a lot more accessible and hassle-free. And, they've got a list of discount codes you can use for online shopping just about anywhere.

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