From MATTHEW FELLING: Subject: Aruba girl getting 10 times the coverage of Downing Street memo. Alternate subject line: Maybe if the Downing Street memo was blond and missing?
I think I’ve found my own personal hellish media “Jump the Shark” moment: this spate of Missing White Women stories trumping everything. (Really, it’s worse than when Dave and Maddie hooked up.)
According to Nexis, it’s even worse than I thought.
To the unaware, having exhausted our infatuation with the runaway bride Jennifer Wilbank and getting all the mileage out of Supermodel Tsunami Survivor Petra Nemcova (who recently received an hour on “Larry King Live”), the cable channels are currently showcasing the story of Natalee Holloway, a blonde Alabama high school senior vacationing in Aruba who has been missing for a week now.
Squeaming readers may want to stop reading here. Really.
A quick Nexis search this morning of news transcripts for the past week shows that Natalee Holloway has been featured in 231 stories, while the Downing Street memo only 20. Yes, It’s even crept into the refreshingly informative CNN International Hour.
If that sort of attention makes the Downing Street memo “famous” — as Eric Boehlert noted in Salon — what astronomic level of celebrity is reserved for these missing women of the week?
The entire thing is designed to make well-off white girls paranoid so they’ll watch TV, as if news was a soap opera, as if these are the problems of the world. And then, having blanketed us with coverage from day one, some anchor will describe the story as having “captivated the attention of the nation.” Well, how could it do otherwise, since you’ve done nothing but shove it at us for weeks now?
And in these neverending sagas of the trivial, some really bad journalism gets committed out of the need to have a fresh angle every day. Honestly, the other night some git on ABC News referred to spring/summer trips as “rites of passage for young adults.”