Cycle of a News Story
Back in the early days, if a caveman saw a saber tooth tiger (or Adam saw an untamed dino) he would run back to his cave (or his garden) and gesture effusively while grunting (or have a polite conversation with Eve and the snake). Then everyone would know to avoid the danger and be effectivley caught up with the current events of the day. A little later as we became more civilized, news would spread through gossip and quiet innuendo until somebody was burned at the stake. The town crier would cry it, and that was the end of the story.
It wasn’t so long ago that newspapers and serious anchormen took over, and the news game really started to change. People came to trust and depend on these people and publications. How else would they know who to hate, who to fear and who to love? Back then nothing happened unless The Times or Walter Cronkite damn well told you it happened.
Needless to say things have changed exponentially since then. Now you have a million different sources telling you a million different things. But no matter who is telling you what, the whole mechanism for a news story is universal. This is not just about Tiger or Lindsay or even Nancy Kagan, the cycle stays the same for almost everything.
-First an event/death/murder/19th baby/affair/war/crime….may or may not occur.
-Someone will inadvertently snap a few incriminating cell phone pics/drunk twitter/talk/or angry Facebook status update.
-The National Enquirer will get wind of the story, put their head down and barrel towards the endzone.
-The common folk will now begin murmuring. As they do.
-TMZ will smell blood in the water and send in the sharks.
-Someone will at this point, without fail…
A) Wreck a SUV into a tree while being chased by a 9-iron wielding, infuriated Swede.
B) Get Arrested
C) Come out
D) Commence a low speed chase through LA.
E) Enter the hospital (exhaustion)
F) Enter a rehab (exhaustion related crack use)
H) Die of unknown causes.
I) Issue an ambiguous statement
This is the point in the story’s life that the proverbial shit hits the phucking fan. There is now nonstop 24/7 coverage. If an anchor must read that The Enquirer broke the story first, it must be said with a smirk and with the taste of bile prominently fixated in their throat. Every network now must quickly decide if the person in question is a ‘friend’ of the network or a ‘friend’ of the network’s political slant. Now all the networks start calling the person in question’s publicist, promising ‘soft’ coverage if they can get the scoop. You know, the ‘real’ scoop, not that white-trash fodder that the Enquirer printed.
Now it’s time for the ‘personalities’ to weigh in. O’Reilly and his cronies will either call out the person in question as a secular progressive, a scumbag or a hypocrite, or they will chastise the public and media for not showing respect and privacy. Olberman and his legion will state the polar opposite of the enemy’s opinion, and do it convincingly. You see, they happen to know that if they were ever to agree on anything, even accidentally, the universe would implode upon itself. Then no matter what the story and no matter what the circumstances…….
-Anderson Cooper will revolve. The entire way around.
-Glenn Beck will cry for America’s lost greatness.
-Sanja Gupta will way in on any and all medical implications.,
-Nancy Grace will get mad and demand justice.
-Steve Ducey will be confused but manage to chuckle speculatively.
Networks will now call in every expert (read.. right priced idiot with a book deal) to argue every point of contention, making sure to never, ever allow such trivial minutia as ‘the facts’ to get in the way of a good thing. Like maybe another book deal. At this point every new development in the case/story/birth/death/scandal will be announced with a bright red (read scarlet letter) banner announcing the brain weight/birth weight/lethal concoction/type-o-condom/type-o-club used.
The story will continue to ebb and flow like a radioactive tide on Lake Karachey until two tasks are successfully completed by the presumed perpetrator.
The first is to manage to hit a single with the softball that’s thrown to them on Larry King. And just because he has the marbleized, ice cold flesh of the ancient vampire that he is, does not mean that he’s not a nice man. He will do everything in his supernatural power to make sure that the ‘guest’ is comfortable and appropriately pitied. A warning must be issued at this point however; do NOT fuck this up. If you rip your mike off and walk off in haste, the story, much like King himself will never, ever, ever die. –See Prejean.
The second step is Oprah. As long as the celebrity/criminal/whatever…I’m tired of using slashes/, doesn’t do anything too crazy like punch the bitch in the face, or admit that she is the one, true antichrist…..then the story can finally be put to bed. Then finally, it’s all over and everyone can move on with the next distraction to keep them from focusing on their own lives.