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Article posted Aug 01 2013, 4:23 AM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: Techdirt Print

Cable News Networks 'Grant' Manning Verdict A Whole Five Minutes Of Coverage

by Tim Cushing

Bradley Manning's verdict was delivered yesterday but if you were expecting to see any coverage on the 24-hour news networks, there's a good chance you missed it, possibly by leaving the room momentarily, channel surfing, or enjoying one of the many hundreds of blinks that provide your eyes with much-needed lubrication.

According to Buzzfeed's stopwatch, the average time the major cable news networks spent on covering the Manning verdict was about 5 minutes. MSNBC topped the charts with 5 minutes and 54 seconds of Manning verdict coverage before moving on to more pressing issues (Weiner sexting presumably, if the pre-roll splash is any indication).

Can't say I blame them. There's no exciting angle to pursue, being completely devoid of partisan wrangling, sexting, royal births, or any other populist "hook." Instead, it's just a run-of-the-mill example of an embarrassed government lashing out at someone who hung a bit of its dirty laundry out to dry.

In general, these sorts of stories are only provided will-this-do minimal coverage by mainstream media outlets, many of which have become satisfied with lending credibility to administration talking points or presenting a garish caricature of the "opposing viewpoint." These roles rotate as needed, depending on the administration's party affiliation.

Manning exposed a lot of wrongdoing and questionable behavior, something that should have forced our government and military-industrial complex to take a long hard look at themselves. Instead, the administration has made every effort to shoot the messenger -- any messenger.

But screw 'em. It's not as if those seeking better coverage of events like these don't have hundreds or thousands of other sources to choose from, most of which don't feel compelled to play softball in order to protect their access to the Beltway. The downside is that those seeking new voices will be deterred by the mainstream media, which frequently paints the internet as a the world's largest Mom's basement, filled with bathrobe-wearing bloggers spouting off conspiracy theories and Tweeted banalities, bereft of tact and deference.

I'd argue that the mainstream media is the world's largest Old Boy Network, filled with shiny vacuous objects spouting off round-the-clock banalities and regurgitated talking points, bereft of skepticism or a functioning conscience.

But, you know, maybe that's just me.

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