Ink by the Barrel

09/13/2010 11:19 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

According to H.L. Mencken, never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel. Though he was correct about the consequences, some of us have refused to be intimidated. (But that is another discussion.)

Nevertheless, what are thoughtful people to do when the men, and women, who buy ink by the barrel use an unconscionable amount of it -- or its electronic equivalent, hours of airtime -- to "report" on a hitherto anonymous minister in Florida for the simple reason that he threatened to burn a Quran? And particularly when the reporting is 24/7, nonstop. (The quotation marks are used to suggest this really isn't news in any traditional sense.)

Had this travesty of abuse against the First Amendment to our Constitution not occurred, does anyone seriously believe that this minister would have received a pleading call from the Secretary of Defense of the world's greatest superpower to cease and desist? Would the Secretary of State, the Mayor of New York and even the President of the United States have felt called upon to render opinions and pleas?

It is what it is. But, at the very least, it is a cause for wonder about who is running the news business these days when audiences for both network and cable "news" are disappearing as fast as candidates who don't take special-interest money. One has to have some suspicion that the 26-year-old producers and editors calling the shots are under the bizarre assumption that some of us poor ignorant readers and viewers actually are interested in or amused by this nonsense. Apparently their theory is that we are too dumb to absorb real news, so we must be fed irrelevant childishness.

Too bad a few of these overpaid children weren't required to read the purposes of the First Amendment. It wasn't so that they and their publishers and network moguls could make money. It was because the founders knew the Republic would be in peril without the public having solid information about its really important business. And there is a record amount of public business that we are being told precious little about. These children must find it boring and assume we adults do as well.

Originally posted on Sen. Hart's blog at Matters of Principle.