04/18/2008 01:45 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Mainstream Media Mainlining

That Mainstream Media is one crafty critter, an exemplar of Darwinian perseverance. It's secured a place at the top of the food chain by seducing its rivals, secreting a soporific perfume to subdue its prey, sinking its fangs into the main artery of the body politic, draining said body of its will and soul and becoming king of the beasts.

It's also an unrivaled crap trap as evidenced by talk show hosts-cum-journalists Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos asking stupefyingly dumbass questions of Barack and Hillary.

But then it's so much easier to keep Hillary's wince-inducing attempts at folksiness and Barack's well intentioned statements that continue to rankle and confuse the Subtlety Impaired as banner headlines, retarding any progress their earlier debates may have made in the semi-consciousness of America.

Why does idiotic minutiae that shouldn't take more than a moment to explain away continue to soak up every second of air time? Because "If it bleeds it leads" has utterly supplanted "All the news that's fit to print" and, as seems to be the ineluctable norm, profit trumps truth.

Broadcast news landmarks, like the stolid but penetrating Watergate hearings and the jaw dropping hubris of the Iran-Contra hearings, were beamed on all major networks and took up most of the broadcast day, giving the viewing public a shot at parsing information without a chaperone. But the cheese-puffed spectacles which we are witness to today (i.e., roid-enraged major leaguers testifying in front of a gassy congressional panel) are mere proxies for the truthful relaying of current events and information (or "news"), something that the MSM has learned to avoid as it might potentially increase the brain power of its audience and subsequently decrease sales of its sponsers' wares. The MSM's hard-on for toxic froth all but renders thoughtful views about as profound as a cover story on that cultural touchstone Brittney Spears, the clumsily bedazzled Marilyn Monroe 2.0. (Marilyn, bless her peroxided soul, at least attended the Actor's Studio and married up. Brittney's incestuous ladle dips no deeper than the scum atop her mall-hick gene pool and pretty much leaves it at that.)

Today's synthetic versions of yesterday's actualities are not so light and disposable as they make themselves out to be, proving instead to possess a staying power that clings to the psyche for a generation or more. They and their participants possess little or no depth or have only enough to get them bought and hastily digested by the public, who themselves seem to have a substantive information intolerance. And for whatever reason, society has lost its get up and go unless it's to the toilet or to the gas station. Incuriousness is encouraged and even forms a subliminal armature that drives the media. And in spite of history frantically waving its arms and yelling "Here! Look over here!" the majority of people still prefer to take the easy route to gathering information, never thinking beyond their own stomachs or their screens.

In spite of perceived improvements in mass communication (the boon, for example, that was supposedly satellite television) it's all just a horizonless, polydimensional platform to launch an armada of commercials into all available psychological real estate. I myself confess to liking the relatively no-frill programming on the Discovery Channel ("How It's Made") or much of the schedule on that noblest and loneliest outpost in the galaxy C-SPAN, providing more data and less duh. I enjoy the power of knowing how aluminum foil is manufactured and I have captivated many with its tale (captivity being the key to the telling.).

And children's programming is in many cases superior to even the old Bugs Bunny nitro-glycerin/snark-fests that constituted my own childhood neuronic nutrition. But for the most part, the Mainstream Media's bottling of the news and the harvesting of the droids that read it from life-sized GI Joe and Barbie and Skipper molds is just one more indication that America the Beautiful is now America the Bathetic.

With our information gathering and distribution in such a sorry state, the resemblance to cultish films like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", "John Carpenter's They Live" and Mike Judge's virtually censored "Idiocracy" is inescapable: representations of reality feeding watered down data to the open, quivering mouths of the masses who accept the regurgitated spew without question. But at some point people either wise up and do battle or continue to live as they are, ensuring the country's evolution towards dystopic daymare, avoided by the rest of the world except when well-heeled Euro, Yuan and Riyal toting foreigners need a place to go to point at the sated specimens from behind protective glass.