NEW YORK (August 2) — Despite the annual August news shortage, you know there has to be somebody somewhere saying something that someone else doesn’t like, and a furor is growing to condemn that person, or force their resignation, or call on them to publicly apologize, or just give them a good smack.
And if they’re not saying it right out in public, you know that they’re thinking it.
“This lack of news is just outrageous,” said Alan Harkness, a mechanic from Memphis. “Combining brain function and diaphragm movement to cause discernible noises to emerge from somebody’s face, formed into sounds that offend us to the core — it’s what we’ve come to expect from those covered by the media.”
With Congress approaching recess, the President on vacation, TV in reruns, and even the easily ridiculed nation of France taking its annual month-long holiday, there’s a tremendous shortage of material to fill a 24-hour news hole. Even Fox, the premiere 24-hour newshole, is desperately thrashing about looking for the latest scandal to grab the country’s attention.
“This just in: former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod tells Macon, Ga., cafeteria workers she prefers dark meat,” reports Glenn Beck. “Oh, wait, that’s the chicken lunch special.”
“We’re reporting on a developing story here this morning,” says the anchor on the morning show Fox & Friends. “A guy whose cousin had a friend who knew a guy that worked for the company that rented a PA system to the Obama campaign in 2008 said that the cousin still owes him $10 for a couple of ‘forties’. Gena, how does this reflect other failures we’ve seen in this Administration?”
Even the everyday news-hounds known as “iReporters” for CNN are struggling to unearth an outrage that will consume our collective consciousness for the next day or two, so we don’t have to think so much about harder stuff.
“This is Jeff Stern in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There seems to be some kind of commotion across the street,” according to one three-minute segment on the afternoon Rick Sanchez show. “A woman is pulling a child by the arm away from a playground, and the child is screaming and throwing a fit.”
“Are we prepared to report a kidnapping in progress?” Sanchez asks Stern anxiously.
“No, no, I think the little girl just had too much candy and now she needs her nap,” Stern continued. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s it. We have confirmed and are now able to officially report that she’s cranky and needs to lie down for a while.”
Meanwhile, a woman at a Los Angeles-area fast food restaurant filed an initial report that Mel Gibson was in line in front of her, arguing with the counter clerk that his order was wrong. Turned out, however, it was just a drunken yard man.
Over at liberal-leaning MSNBC, White House correspondent Lewis Philpott was reporting a beautiful day on the grounds of the executive mansion, with the slightly lower humidity offering a break in the heat wave that has charred the mid-Atlantic for over a week.
“There are some flowers over here, and you can see bees flitting in and out among them,” Philpott said. “It’s good to see our nation is back to work, at least on an invertebrate level.”
Finally, late in the day Monday, real news was breaking. Seaside Heights, N.J., police were releasing the mug shot of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, star of MTV’s reality hit Jersey Shore, who had been arrested for disorderly conduct Friday.
“Let me see, let me see!” demanded Tina Westbrook, a TV viewer from Houston. “Oh … yes … oh, that feels so good. Oh, thank you, Snooki. Thank you so much. I think I was going through withdrawal there.”