We’ve entered the era of Soap Opera News. Soap Opera News reports “progress” on some news item on an hourly (“breaking news”-style) basis and in most cases, it turns out it was all much ado about nothing. News as cheap entertainment, as a cheap thrill for the masses, where it doesn’t matter any longer that reality is usually infinitely more complicated. News that can be very conveniently manipulated simply by the way it’s being presented. News stations can always deny they manipulate the news because the “facts” never are. In fact, there hardly ever are any facts. See, for example, the hunt for that “top Al Qaeda leader” in Pakistan who, as it probably has just turned out, isn’t there. Clearly, Soap Opera-style news, exciting for the likes of CNN, Fox “News”, and all the other usual suspects - including an administration whose only hope for “re”-election is to maintain permanent fear of terrorism in the electorate.
Update (22 March): “[Carl] Bernstein, the former Washington Post journalist who with reporter Bob Woodward unearthed the Watergate scandal, told a crowd of about 200 in a speech Thursday that much of today’s news has deteriorated into gossip, sensationalism and manufactured controversy.” story