Editor's Note


By Tim Whitaker
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jul. 30, 2008

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Sophomoric? You betcha.

But McQuade's blog, by my likely biased reading, is the perfect venue for stories like this. He nearly always finds the perfect pitch--impertinent, but shy of cruel. His readers get the joke and respond in kind.

It was McQuade, for example, who first Photoshopped the Alycia Lane image that appears with this column.

In a just world, the real bikini pictures would come his way.

The irony in this whole fiasco?

No one watches local TV news.

There are three 24-hour cable news networks and hundreds of news and information websites.

At 11 p.m. there's The Daily Show, a far more enlightening news alternative, and Seinfeld, which most nights, even if you've seen it before, beats watching weather, Phils lowlights, murder, mayhem and more weather.

So irrelevant is local TV news that even Philadelphia magazine, which for decades dutifully chronicled the ratings wars and ran profiles about all the many blow-dry anchors that blew through town, has cut and run.

This month the magazine passed on naming a favorite local newscast in their best-of issue, calling TV news "utterly irrelevant."

Recently an editor at a national website was telling me how he and his fellow staffers had been ordered to track page-view numbers so they'd know what readers liked.

The staffers quickly learned the obvious--sex is what they like, more so when accompanied by a big revealing photo. So with bonuses to earn for big numbers, they began delivering just that.

But in response to their cheesy tricked-out posts, the comments to the site went from thoughtful to crude and stupid. Out of nowhere, a large number of readers began insisting that Obama was a Muslim, though no story about Obama had been posted.

Why do we know so much about Lane and Mendte, two people who until recently read teleprompters for big-time money on a venue that nobody watched?

Is it really because it's the perfect summer diversion for our woes?

Or is it because every time we click on our news site of record we're hit with another gossipy update?

How many news cycles can the Lane/Mendte story ride out?

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