Is the media obsessed with Weinergate?
2 Jun, 2011 20:42
The American cable networks have been buzzing with news of yet another political sex scandal coming from the halls of Congress – Weinergate!
Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) alleged his twitter account was hacked by someone who sent a close-up picture of an erect penis behind boxers-briefs to a college-age girl in Washington State.The US media has followed every twist and turn of the story, which has people wondering who is more interested in this story—the mainstream media or the American public.While some people in Washington argued that the public has a right to know what its elected officials are really up to, a majority of the public response was one of indifference.“I honestly don’t really care about it,” said Washington, DC resident Dan Gilbert. “I think it’s more a distraction than anything else.”In the midst of a numerous hardships facing the United States both at home and abroad, some people expressed irritation with the media for devoting too much attention to the Weinergate scandal and ignoring other more important stories.“I think there are far more pressing things in this world that could get a little bit more coverage…like tornadoes, the continued crisis in the Middle East, [and] our country’s fiscal situation,” said John Judo.Some even expressed anger with the inherently corrupt system of government in Washington.“I think all politicians in some way are crooked,” argued Raj Shaw. “Unless we change the system it’s not going to change anyway so whatever they do it doesn’t really make a difference.”After surveying many of Washington, DC residents, it seems that the Weinergate scandal is more important to mainstream networks than it is to the viewers.Christopher Chambers, lecturer, Georgetown University said he is not surprised by the coverage. The early summer months are sow, and the news media often picks up on soft sorties that are entertaining and easy to explain. “We do have an economic crisis here, in Europe. We have food and energy crisis, etc. Wars. That’s not important,” he explained. “Things aren’t fitting into neat little boxes anymore so we strive to look at stuff like this.”This is the same type of approach used by the media with Charlie Sheen and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is hard to carry and explain tougher political issues and hold the attention fans of viewers. Weinergate and other fluff stories are easy. In addition, there is an invested interest by some to use this issue to distract from other topics, notable the debt ceiling and political debates between Republicans and Democrats. The more the Republicans highlight Weiner and the Twitter scandal, the less the debate about the economy, debt ceiling and overseas wars makes the news.