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News Coverage of Bachmann Gaffe is Trivial

Here is NBC News’ coverage of Michele Bachmann’s presidential announcement. It focuses on her most recent gaffe, claiming the actor John Wayne was born in Waterloo instead of Winterset. (it turns out the serial killer John Wayne Gacy is from Waterloo.

This mistake has become the narrative when it comes to coverage of Representative Bachmann’s announcement, and it’s quite stupid. (NBC correspondent Kelly O’Donnell also helpfully informs us when Bachmann left the stage in Iowa, her campaign played the Tom Petty song “American Girl,” and Petty’s manager says he will ask the Bachmann campaign not to use that song.)

You don’t have to be a huge fan of Bachmann to see how trivial this all is. We’re constantly told how few and precious the minutes on the eventing news programs are, and then we are lectured by journalists like NBC’s Brian Williams about how lamentable the state of American political discourse is, how it focuses on the ephemeral and unimportant, and how we should concentrate on substance and the complexity of real issues. And then they produce a shallow piece like this.

I’m reminded of the words of St. Augustine: “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.”  The motto of many in the modern-day media is, “Lord, make us serious, but not yet.”



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