More on the aporkalypse

I woke up this morning to this CNN headline in my Blackberry: “Number of confirmed H1N1 cases worldwide soars.” I guess we could argue about what defines the word “soars,” but it’s certainly a sexier, more compelling term than “increases,” although the latter might be more factual.

It’s time to regurgitate a point about cable news. These entities are at their best during news blockbuster events, like hurricanes and other major disasters. We need them during these kinds of times, because they do a great job of satisfying the adrenalin rush that comes with such. The problem for cable news organizations, however, is that they don’t get paid during times of major breaking news events, although they bring them their biggest ratings.

This has brought about the necessity of the artificial blockbuster. Driven by hyperbole, this is the weapon that these news organizations use to create a sense of blockbuster status even though the facts don’t support the hype. When you need blockbusters to make a living, everything begins to look like a blockbuster.

The problem, of course, is what this does to the culture. I called it “The Lizard on America’s Shoulder” many years ago, and I think (and hope) it’ll be just a documented part of American press history some day.


  1. Perhaps this kind of blockbusterism is the only way to reach people – in the days of the great picture flood -> nower days. It’s like porn and action movies: it has to be harder and harder to hit. And it will be harder and harder reach the threshold. But one thing is certain: This kind of media super flu is the best way of medical avertising. Great days for Roche…

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