5.11.2009

"Yellow" Fever Epidemic Sweeps through Blogosphere

William Randolph Hearst Would Be So Proud. Moe Lane is calling for a return to yellow journalism:

... Based on the historical record, what the American people want [reporters] to do is to go out and alternatively tweak and praise local power structures via proudly and openly biased articles that make no secret of their own opinions, and that offer no pretense to an objectivity that never really existed anyway. In short the American people want ‘honest’ yellow journalism for their day-to-day news. Read the rest.

For better or worse, human nature is drawn to the sordid and the sensational. In its heyday, yellow journalism explored and exploited the heights and depths (okay, usually just depths) of human nature. Then, newspapers known for the style read like a mix of Hannibal Lecter meets Girls Gone Wild. Today, they're often as intriguing as reading the full transcript of Press Secretary Gibbs' briefing on swine flu. (I did, and I think contracting swine flu would have been less painful.)

In those days, the mantra was the more violent, sexier, and scandalous the better, and people loved it. They still do; the fascination reader's have with sex and scandal (and speedo pictures) helps explain why Stacy McCain's blog is so popular. Incidentally, Stacy recently lamented that sensationalism is all but gone from today's dailies. 

While neither Moe, Stacy, nor I am suggesting that newspapers go willy-nilly in indulging the base tendencies of their readers, it couldn't hurt and would probably help if newspapers, as one Slate reporter said it, "contained a little more blood, took a position without being partisan, yelled a tad more, and brushed some yellow from the palette while painting their stories."

In fact, I think the willingness of bloggers to jazz up journalism is precisely why more folks are turning to them for their news fix. They have tapped into the irresistible appeal that cut-and-dried, faux-objective news stories just don't have. Here are a few links that are just the tip of the sometimes-outrageous, sometimes-sex-ridden, sometimes-scandalous, but always-opinionated iceberg out there in the blogosphere:


And, last but not least (seriously, this may be my favorite), Protein Wisdom shares a yellow-journalism-esque photo of Obama and the Dems with appropriate headline: Somewhere, H.L. Mencken Is Laughing.

I'm sure you want to click ALL of the links above so I'll leave you to it.

Oh, wait, one more thing: I'm with Moe on the whole yellow journalism thing, but I have to take issue with the "PS" to his post:
"And we can stop requiring specialized college training for journalists any day now. From what I can see, it’s pretty much wasted on them anyway."
Wasted? My dear Mr. Moe, had I majored in something other than journalism, I would probably have spent the last half hour doing something other than writing this blog post and ... er ... touche.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! While you're here, check out some of my own recent yellow-journalism-esque posts:

2 comments:

  1. Suzanna - What a clever way to cram a post full of links. I'm impressed.

    I would find Stacy's approach to blogging offensive except he's so dang honest about what he is doing. I must applaud him for that.

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  2. Honest Yellow Journalism! Great phrase! CNN and MSNBC are doing their part.

    Still... there won't be any place for the Obamacons to hide once inflation and interest rates accelerate. With the deficit data released this morning, this should be soon.

    Conservatives have reason to be optimistic though. Unemployed voters really blame the one in power - even a Democrat - when they can't get a job.

    For other reasons for conservative optimism, you can hit:

    http://firstconservative.com/blog/top-ten/conservative-resurgence

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