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Headline-grabbing gossip replaces news in US

A Senator tweeting a woman with a racy photo has overshadowed world news in the US, with some media putting the story ahead of the war in Libya and raging violence in Syria. It seems selecting scandal over news is becoming a US media trend.

Police in the US have closed the investigation into the so-called “sexting” case that has dominated national headlines for over two weeks, after a married US Congressman sent a lewd photo to a young woman via twitter.

American media cannot get enough of Anthony Weiner’s crotch shot that he accidently posted to his Twitter account for some 77,000 followers to see on May 27.

The story made a perfect sex scandal with a shameless and unsuccessful cover-up. In an interview on May 30, Anthony Weiner insisted that it was a “twitter hoax” and “they” hacked his account.

“I am a victim of it, this girl is the victim of it,” he told the press.

A subsequent embarrassing confession followed Wednesday June 6: “Last Friday night I tweeted a photo of myself, that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I posted it to Twitter I panicked. I took it down and said I have been hacked.”

And, of course, a tearful apology: “I’m deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family.”

It seemed Anthony Weiner’s indiscretion overshadowed all other news in America, to the point when even comedians for whom the Congressman’s crotch shot has become a bottomless source of inspiration, point out how distracted American news media can be.

Chris Chambers, a lecturer at Georgetown University says that for many people “the only way to get ratings is to lead and constantly turn and cover these types of lascivious stories that really don’t have any bearing on people’s lives.”

Whether or not it is a private issue that has affected nobody but the people involved, the media pressure is so high that it has become a trend in America to make deeply personal apologies on camera. From ex-president Clinton to pro-golfer Tiger Woods. The apologies seem to fuel the gossip industry even more.

“When politicians stage these apology sessions they are very likely responding to their public relations advisers, their lawyers and the American media companies love it, because again it generates even more scandal,” Chambers said.

American television lives off scandals. Take Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan with her endless trials, Schwarzenegger, now Weiner – the list is endless. And all of these scandals are really private matters, but they fill the news environment to such an extent that many ask whether gossip has replaced actual news in America.