Thursday, March 5, 2009

Should Stupid People Be Allowed To Anchor?

Question of the day: should stupid people be allowed to anchor the news?

What occasioned this question was a discussion that took place this morning on CNN. I was driving into work, listening to CNN's American Morning on Sirius when I heard the show's hosts discussing the issue of budgetary earmarks --those reviled funding requests that make up a miniscule portion of the Federal budget, but which receive out-sized criticism from "good government" groups. One of these groups, Taxpayers for Common Sense, has called out a number of projects in the Congress' latest budget and marked them for ridicule, and on CNN this morning, the hosts were particularly tickled by a $1.7 million request for "pig odor research" in Iowa. The CNN crew were falling over themselves to point to the absurdity of the funding request with one of them opining, as the segment closed, that farmers should just learn to use an air freshener.

Now maybe I'm the Edward Gibbon of the historical news cycle, or maybe CNN's hosts are just a pack of full-blown retards who are irretrievably memory challenged from all the pot they smoked while hosting MTV's Headbanger's Ball, but I for one seem to remember a time when the issue of the horrible smells produced by large factory pig-farms dominated the news cycle and was the subject of many an investigative report. It was just a few years ago, after all, and I'm sure CNN covered the issue just as did all the major news outlets.

I don't want to get into the question of whether factory farming of this sort is an advisable practice. I don't want to argue whether we should be studying technologies that might allow for an expansion of this sort of intensive industrial meat production. But I do wish, for just one moment, that our nation's TV anchors were not a pack of intellectually incurious morons too dimwitted to connect a research project on pig odor amelioration with a series of news story about pig odor that they were intensely covering in the relatively recent past.

I expect neither honesty nor intellectual rigor from Taxpayers for Common Sense. They're just another pack of right-wing shills who spotlight budget items based upon how easy it is to launch a cheap shot attack against them, as opposed to their true merits. But from our news media... well... there was a time I expected more from them. Now I just settle for venting my disgust with them from time to time.

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