George Graham

Sensationalist Media No Longer Separate Wheat from Chaff

My cousin, Jilian, who lives in Toronto, sent me an email today about an “art  exhibition” in New York that caused outrage among a lot of decent people – including her. The exhibition was deliberately racist, subversive and offensive. I won’t mention the artist’s name because that’s exactly what he wants – notoriety at any cost. Here’s a link to the New York Times report if you’re interested:

My reaction to this kind of trash is not outrage but sadness and disappointment. It is sad that this so-called artist would be driven to such extremes by his craving for attention. It is disappointing that the New York Times would help him achieve his goal by publicizing the incident. But the media today don’t seem able to separate newsworthy events from publicity stunts. In my day, an editor was a responsible gatekeeper. We sorted through the chaff to find the wheat. Today, the only consideration in choosing “the news that’s fit to print” is attracting attention amid the hubbub of information overload.

bachmannlaserThat’s why people like Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich (together at right) get on TV with their outrageous remarks and suggestions. Bachmann is a crazy Republican politician from Minnesota who accuses Democratic members of Congress of being “un-American” and wants her constituents to become “armed and dangerous” so they can stage a violent revolution against President Obama. Gingrich, who was once regarded as a credible conservative leader, criticized Obama for not attacking North Korea to prevent the recent missile launch. As Rachel Maddow pointed out on MSNBC last night, Gingrich’s reality is so bizarre that he proposed using a laser beam to blow up the missile (like the laser beams attached to sharks by Dr. Evil – pictured above – in a James Bond movie).

cheneyI would also include former Vice President Dick Cheney (at left) in the list of unworthy “news” sources. His views no longer have any relevance, and the only reason for publicizing them has to be unabashed sensationalism.

Meanwhile, in the real world, President Obama is trying to restore international confidence in America, work toward worldwide elimination of nuclear missiles, restart a stalled global economy, reform a perverted economic system that has robbed the poor to make the rich richer, and provide such basics as health care and education for all Americans. And across the world, political leaders are struggling to cope with the fallout from a devastating economic collapse. In Jamaica, for example, Prime Minister Bruce Golding is announcing his budget today, and he notes it has been severely impacted by the global recession. Jamaica – like many other countries – will be called on to make sacrifices. Even in once-wealthy America, unemployment and homelessness are spreading rapidly.

I would think that the American media would have more important concerns to put before the public than some low-life’s “art exhibition” or some fringe politician’s extremist ranting.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for