No News Would Be Better News
by Mad Dog
next, a succession of front pages splashed with such ground-breaking stories as "The
Earth is Still Round"?
headline on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle read: Bob Hope Is Still Very
Much Alive. Now theres some enlightening news for you. Whats tomorrows
headline going to be, "George Burns Isnt"?
By now you probably know that the Associated Press accidentally posted a pre-written
obituary for Bob Hope on their website. This was all Arizona Representative Bob Stump
needed to hear before he went and announced to Congress that Hope was dead. Sure the
obituary included such important details asand I quote, "Bob Hope, Tireless
Master of the One-Liner, Dead at XX", but obviously Stump assumed this was a
reference to an obscure Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movie, "On The Road to Rome",
and figured it meant he was twenty years old when he died.
The truth is, the headline in the Chronicle
would have made more sense had they reported Hopes death in the first place, but
they didnt. That made the headline non-news. Whats next, a succession of front
pages splashed with such ground-breaking stories as "The Earth is Still Round",
"The Sun Rises Again", and "Raisins Were Once Grapes"?
The Chronicle was far from the only
newspaper to do this. In fact, the precedent was set in the 70s when Saturday Night
Lives Chevy Chase would begin each Weekend Update with "And in our top story,
Generalisimo Francisco Franco is still dead." The difference is he was trying to be
The glory of this is that the news wont change! Every hour the story
will be the same: Its a New Millennium.
|| This proves that
life doesnt really imitate artart imitates art, the media imitates the media,
and Bill Clinton imitates Wilt Chamberlain. Hey, it could be worse. Bill could have picked
Dennis Rodman as his role model.
this comes about because apparently the public cant get enough news, or so the media
seems to think. Entertainment Tonight tells us more about Hollywood stars than anyone
including the stars themselves could possibly be interested in. The media endlessly
discusses such minutiae as the 4,327 possibilities of what the supposed distinguishing
characteristic of the Presidents penis could be. And even now, after 120 years on
the air, Andy Rooney still thinks we want to know that hes confused about why
theres cotton inside an aspirin bottle.
The problem is that thanks to the so-called
Information Age, and in particular the Internet, its becoming increasingly more
difficult for the media to find enough news. CNN and MSNBC are on 24 hours a day. Dateline
is expanding next season, putting them dangerously close to airing 8 days a week. And now
it turns out that ABC News is so hard up that theyre planning to broadcast 27 hours
of live coverage of the turn of the millennium. Thats right, twenty-seven hours of
it. It will start at midnight Eastern time December 31, 1999 and run through the following
day in the Pacific time zone.
According to the Worldwatch Institute (motto: "Yup, its still here.") by
the year 2000 over four million Chinese will be online, yet only half of them will have a
|| The glory
of this is that the news wont change! Every hour the story will be the
same: Its a New Millennium. Think of the money this will save on writers and
reporters. In fact, if theyre smart theyll pre-tape one reporter celebrating
the new year and just rerun it over and over, slipping as many commercials in between as
they can for M&Ms ("The Official Candy of the Millennium"), Miller
Beer ("The Official Beer of the Millennium"), and Sominex ("Well Be
Out of Business If You Watch ABCs Millennium Coverage").
Most telling is that its the news division
thats doing this, not the entertainment division. Exactly how many people do they
think are going to turn the TV on that day and say, "Honey! Come here! I just heard
something incredibleits the start of a new millennium!"? Besides, most of
us will be so busy arguing over whether its really the start of the millennium that
we wont have time to watch their silly coverage anyway.
Its true people are hungry for
information. According to the Worldwatch Institute (motto: "Yup, its still
here.") by the year 2000 over four million Chinese will be online, yet only half of
them will have a toilet. Now thats dedication to finding information. My biggest
fear is that theyll fire up their new computer, log on to the Internet, and the
first news theyll see is, "Mao Tse Tung is Still Dead." I can hear the
clicking of power switches from here.
©1998 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
The headline will read: These columns still appear in better newspapers
across the country.