In a Sunday op-ed piece, Frank Bruni complained that Americans get worked up to no good end — headline: “The invention of outrage” — over what passes for news these days. Well, no shit. The odd thing about the piece was that Bruni didn’t bother to explain the difference between gossip and real news:
If ever you needed an example of how easily, spuriously or conveniently we gin up our outrage, last week was it. As we kept up with [Kim] Kardashian, kept tabs on a constipated Congress and beheld both the turmoil in Greece and the travails of Herman Cain, we summoned astonishment where there was questionable grounds for it and an ire sometimes out of proportion with the circumstances. So did the players in a few of these dramas and the parasites feeding off them. It was a mad, mad week.
My first thought was yo, Frank, if you want to hear less about bimbos such as Kardashian, don’t devote half of an article to her. Don’t mention her at all. My second thought was don’t equate coverage of vapid “personalities” with stories about our dysfunctional Congress, which is still hung up on reducing debt rather than creating jobs.
Bruni and many of his colleagues are like factory workers who dump toxins into a river and then complain about all the dead fish. What is this guy smoking?
Was he complaining about the general public’s tendency to become outraged over “news” that’s actually trivia, or the media’s purposeful reduction of all news to trivia? It’s not quite clear.
What Bruni should have written about is the remarkable absence of outrage in America over issues that directly effect our health and well-being. For decades most Americans were bamboozled into believing the increasingly wide income gap between the rich and poor was nothing more than a healthy result of the free market system at work.
The corporate media does everything it can to encourage belief in this lie. One of its tricks is to distract us from important issues by prominently running stories about bimbos and sideshow freaks while at the same time under-reporting the ways in which the rich and powerful have institutionalized inequality in our sick society.
My suggestion for Bruni, if he wants to write something substantive, would be to stop following the Kardashian news, ride the subway to Zuccotti Park and ask some of the protesters why they are there. It really is an outrage.