When News Isn't News

The news ain't what it used to be. More specifically, we are fed "news" that isn't news at all, perhaps to distract us from what really is news. This is a common complaint nowadays, but it's nothing new, and it is not only the large media corporations that are responsible for this. Even "new media" outlets such as Salon feel compelled to take up space with stuff no one really cares about. To whit, "Martha Stewart's dog Paw Paw dies of renal failure". Now, before you get your underwear all in a bunch, know that I'm a dog lover, a dog owner, and a generally congenial guy. But honestly - who gives a shit about Martha's dog? Dogs, people, cats, salamanders and hippos die everyday. If my dog died today, I would be crestfallen, sure. If my neighbor's dog died today, I'd be sad as well because he/she is a familiar bark in the neighborhood. But what difference does it make to you or me if Martha's dog passes away? Why is this reported? Why is this news? Are we expected to project our feelings of sadness across the ether to console Martha because she is an eminent media figure?

I'll belabor the point no further. Suffice it say that we live in stupid times.