How we turned the news into sports
Sports fans are the best consumers. Why not turn politics into sports?
The biggest taboo in American media has nothing to do with race, gender, or class. It involves the news itself.
Ever notice no one ever says, “Hell if I know” on a cable news show? Despite the fact that most media figures have huge knowledge gaps about the news (which after all is the set of all things on Earth), we’re trained to offer opinions even when we have no clue.
Part of this has to do with the internal logic of news media, at its core an entertainment product. It triggers suspension of disbelief if someone on air admits to not knowing the history of Kurd-Turk relations, or the hierarchy of Venezuelan socialism, or the rules of a government shutdown.
We’re also training audiences to fear being caught not knowing, and to believe it’s shameful to be ignorant of news. You think Wolf Blitzer doesn’t know what’s going on in the Sri Lankan civil war? Who’s the reigning party in Japan’s House of Councilors? Who’s currently occupying Idlib?
(Wolf Blitzer doesn’t know shit. He finished…
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Racket to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.