Three weeks ago, Ebola was an all-consuming crisis that obsessed politicians and the media. But now, it’s just an old issue and old news.
People are still dying in droves in substandard medical facilities in West Africa, and nothing much has changed in terms of our efforts to insure that the disease is contained when infected individuals travel into the United States.
But compare the summary of the Sunday political news shows that The Hill provided several weeks ago [https://academeblog.org/2014/11/02/ebola-a-symptom-of-our-morbidly-diseased-media-and-politics/], with the summary of the topics covered on this past Sunday.
SUNDAY SHOW WRAP-UP: IMMIGRATION GRABS SPOTLIGHT
November 16, 2014
Top GOP senator won’t dismiss talk of shutdown over immigration: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said, “we’re having those discussions.” http://ow.ly/ElHRJ
Lee: US ‘not heading into a government shutdown’: “There are a lot of reasons for that,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said. http://ow.ly/Em4n2
McCaskill ‘not crazy’ about executive action on immigration: The Democrat called on Republicans to take up immigration reform in the House. http://ow.ly/Em5GO
Cole: Obama being ‘political and cynical’ on immigration: The Republican predicted the GOP won’t take the “bait” and shut down the government. http://ow.ly/ElSwr
Becerra spars with former Bush AG on immigration action: The Democrat told Alberto Gonzales to think “if it were your child” being separated. http://ow.ly/ElOdl
Romney says there are ‘more productive ways’ to fight Obama than shutdown: “The American people spoke loud and clear,” he said. http://ow.ly/ElZsQ
Jindal: GOP should do ‘everything they can’ to stop Obama on immigration: “No, we shouldn’t shut down the government,” the governor said. http://ow.ly/ElXM4
HHS chief: ObamaCare ‘based on transparency’: Burwell said she fundamentally disagrees with Jonathan Gruber’s comments. http://ow.ly/ElTcb
HHS: 100K new O-Care applications on first day: The website appears to be working much better than it did last year. http://ow.ly/ElU2J
ISIS fight authorization vote can’t wait, key Democratic senator says: Durbin said a new video is a “tragic reminder of the savagery of ISIS.” http://ow.ly/ElGT6
Netanyahu: ISIS fight a ‘global conflict’: ISIS “has to be defeated,” the Israeli prime minister said. http://ow.ly/ElDXo
Israel and US ‘one family,’ Netanyahu says: He would not address comments from an Obama official who called him “chickens—.” http://ow.ly/ElDZF
KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE
Dem senator: No ‘hard assurance’ of Keystone veto: Whitehouse said he would “hope and expect” that Obama would veto the pipeline. http://ow.ly/ElKiP
Franken: ‘Sure’ there will be challenger to Hillary Clinton: “I’m sure someone will jump in,” the Minnesota Democrat said. http://ow.ly/ElKUu
Clapper crosses North Korea trip off bucket list: Clapper said he was “quite apprehensive” when touching down in Pyongyang. http://ow.ly/ElNEW
Our politicians and our media are giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “ambulance chasers.”
They inflate the significance of certain stories not because they want to provoke meaningful responses to or meaningful action on those issues but, instead, simply so that they can go through the motions of what not so long ago used to be a preliminary to such action.
They are desperate for headlines because a smaller and smaller portion of the population gives a damn what either group is saying. But it has become so transparently obvious that the chasing after headlines has no purpose beyond generating the headlines that the whole exercise is becoming increasingly counterproductive. Voters and viewers are not just tuning out; they are tuning out at an ever-accelerating rate.
So the whole exercise is being reduced to a sort of inside game. The media elevates something to the crisis of the moment. The political establishment responds accordingly in order to receive media attention. And the media bestows that attention and the attendant significance on the politicians who are willing to engage in the game.
But most of it is nothing more than empty words that float in the air like the dust in a shaft of sunlight slanting through a long-closed window.