THE BLOG

Public Yawns While Press Freaks out Over Mosque Story

08/24/2010 10:25 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

While the Beltway press continues to flood the zone with an onslaught of often dubious Islamic center coverage and commentary, a curious disconnect has emerged: Nobody cares about the story.

OK, "nobody" is an exaggeration. But there's growing evidence that voters, news consumers, and even New Yorkers aren't nearly as interested in the story as the press -- or conservative partisans --pretend we are. Plus, we have conclusive polling evidence that for a vast majority of Americans, the mosque story won't have any effect on how they vote in November. None.

It's true that polling indicates that Americans oppose the construction of the Islamic center near Ground Zero. But there's no indication that voters or news consumers care about the story. And honestly, why should they? Why would a local development issue located hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away weigh in the minds of voters for the November elections?

Is the Islamic center debate interesting, and does it carry with it some deeper political and cultural ramifications? Sure. And should it be covered? Absolutely. But a three-week running, front-page story? No way.

But shhh -- don't tell reporters, producers, and pundits. They're too busy co-sponsoring a right-wing production, burying us in an avalanche of mosque coverage and announcing that it's the "the issue that is trumping all right now."

How does the press know? Because the press says so. And you know the drill: When the right-wing freaks out over a story, the press instinctively asks how high they should jump. (Why else did the press play up the Michelle Obama vacation nonstory?) The dirty little secret is that the Beltway press loves to "cover" stories where very little journalism is required, and (surprise!) the GOP Noise Machine specializes in manufacturing them.

Read the full Media Matters column, here.

This Blogger's Books and Other Items from...