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A pop quiz: What is news?

Of late, I've been finding myself trying to guess which stories will garner media attention, and those which will slip through the cracks. And of late, I've been doing worse and worse.

So, here's an idea: I'm going to put out a News Director quiz. I'll describe two stories, and you get to guess which one is more news-worthy.

1. A) An ambassador nominee is accused of yelling at subordinates decades ago.
B) A former National Security Advisor pleads guilty to stealing and destroying highly classified documents from the National Archives.

2) A) The House Majority leader is accused (but not formally charged) with violating House ethics rules.
B) A top aide to a powerful senator (with ties to a second powerful senator) is being tried on charges of violating Federal fund-raising laws for said senator.

3) A) A fifth-tier journalist with a White House day pass has a past as a gay escort.
B) The main anchor for a major television network uses fraudulent documents in an attempt to sway a presidential election.

Part II of the test is a common-sense test.

4) Areas with strict gun-control laws have much higher rates of violent crime than places with looser gun-control laws. This means that in order to decrease crime, those places with high rates should:
A) Make the gun control laws stricter; or
B) Make them laxer?

5) Areas with the worst education scores are also those who spend the most on education. Conversely, those who spend the least have much higher academic scores. If those first places wish to improve their educational system, they should:
A) Spend even more money; or
B) Spend less?

6) The United Nations has an astonishing record of ineffectuality, incompetence, corruption, and outright venality. What sort of person should the President appoint as Ambassador?
A) Someone who will go there and attempt to curry favor and speak kindly to the entrenched kleptocrats and confirmed enemies of the United States; or
B) A career diplomat who is on record as speaking plainly and openly about the institution's shortcoming?

I gotta admit, I failed this test miserably.


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Comments (19)

Joser, not a bad question, ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Joser, not a bad question, but it needs a little work. Lemme see...

Which is more newsworthy:
A) A seated president who lies under oath and, in a plea bargain, accepts disbarment from practicing law; or
B) A man who has problems with alcohol and drugs who cleans himself, spends almost two decades living clean, and then runs for president?

I'd suggest a better comparison for Bush would be Marion Berry, but there's video of him smoking crack while in office. So that makes him OK, I guess.


Joser:What's worse... (Below threshold)


What's worse:

-- a person with substance abuse problems reformed, later running successfully for the Presidency...


-- a President (of the United States, no less!) lying under oath.

Clinton was not impeached because he "got a BJ from someone other than his wife," BUT BECAUSE HE LIED UNDER OATH.

He was also disbarred for the same reason. That means, the professional standards that he was sworn to uphold as an attorney were inviolated to such an obvious extent that he/Clinton was stripped of his license to practice law.

He still has his education, yes, but he cannot practice as an attorney unless he goes the "beneath the desk" method.

I guess by your standards, once a person uses substances, he's always regarded as some sort of trash, regardless of remedies taken to reform the behaviors and set right the problems.

I was just reading a Michelle Malkin entry with some quotes from DU wherein many 'liberals' there (DU) ream a person with breast cancer. And now you're trying to get rightous in the antithesis sort of way about once-a-substance-abuser-always-down-and-out...

Nah. Millions of people have already proven you wrong about that, but apparently, you missed it.

(^^)"standards...wer... (Below threshold)

"standards...were VIOLATED to such an extent..."

Hmmph. And people here were... (Below threshold)

Hmmph. And people here were complaining about baised questions in Schiavo polls.

Your entire post could be reduced to a single question:

What's more newsworthy?
1. A) An issue that I claim is inconsequential, but the people who disagree with me think is important because they're so stupid.
B) An issue that I claim is important, but the people who disagree with me think is inconsequential because they're so stupid.

Now, what about Howard Dean... (Below threshold)

Now, what about Howard Dean's thrilling performance of man-sniffing-cocaine. I think it indicated a high degree of personal familiarity, perhaps a renactment. Hardly an innocent gesture.

I like your little test, Ja... (Below threshold)

I like your little test, Jay Tea.

Amazing what truth can highlight and how much certain folks are afraid of the light.

Wait, Bush beat his wife? ... (Below threshold)

Wait, Bush beat his wife? I've not heard that one before.

Don't feel bad, Jay Tea. I failed it, too.

I'm not good at standardize... (Below threshold)

I'm not good at standardized tests where there's a right answer and a wrong answer. That's why I went into a field where they're not required.

Probably the same with journalists.

Jay Tea, What do you get wh... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

Jay Tea, What do you get when you cross Sadam Hussein and a potato?... Do you give up? OK!
You get a dictator...

Brian, the only thing aroun... (Below threshold)

Brian, the only thing around here that's inconsequential are the lame efforts by you and yours to draw attention away from David Rosen's (and by extension, Hillary's) problems with federal campaign laws and refocus it on Tom Delay's problems with House ethical standards. If Delay deserves to be b****slapped for this if found guilty (and he probably does), then Rosen should be hung up by his heels and flogged if found guilty(metaphorically speaking, of course).

And so should anybody convicted with him. Including you know who.

I see liberal bias in the n... (Below threshold)

I see liberal bias in the news, but I think this quiz is a little "loaded".
1. The controversy over Bolton is current news because his nomination is at risk of going down. Berger pleads guilty, which is reported, but there is no ongoing controversy.
2. Here, more active controversy against DeLay wins over trial of an unelected aide. The associates of DeLay who are indicted wouldn't be big news by themselves either.
3. While some dems are wetting themselves over the Gannon issue, I think the mainstream press has spent much more time on the Rathergate issue, and rightly so.
4. I don't think your correlation between gun laws and gun crime is sound, so the question is bogus. Some places with strict laws have high crime, some don't. Correlation does not equal causation.
5. Same here, your assumption is baseless. Too many other variables at play here. Not that spending more on education will solve all problems, but spending less might not help either. Better teachers, involved parents, higher standards; these may be the real issue.
6. The answer to this one depends on the goals of the administration. As much as the UN needs reform, I doubt the US can lead the way in reform. One approach would be to install a sycophant in the UN while we boldly pursue our policies outside the UN.

I guess it depends on how m... (Below threshold)

I guess it depends on how much "accuracy" they can add to the story.

What the hell good is all of their journalistic training, intelligence and false sense of integrity if all they have to do is report the truth as it is. Or is it really news if they don't like it? Or, we are all so stupid on the right that we won't notice their bias anyway.

Still waiting for scientists to identify the common sense gene.

fatman, you once again igno... (Below threshold)

fatman, you once again ignore the actual text of posts that you reference, and just make up stuff that you can get outraged about. I clearly said that anyone who's guilty should pay the penalty, including Rosen, and including DeLay. The only difference is that Rosen was investigated, but DeLay has not been. What are you trying to hide by approving the hindering of his investigation?

5) Areas with the worst edu... (Below threshold)

5) Areas with the worst education scores are also those who spend the most on education. Conversely, those who spend the least have much higher academic scores. If those first places wish to improve their educational system, they should:
A) Spend even more money; or
B)ABOLISH teacher's unions, require teachers to teach course material, prohibit teachers from discussing politics in any class where politics is not a part of the course description.

Earth to Brian. Earth to Br... (Below threshold)

Earth to Brian. Earth to Brian.

Where in my post did I say--or even hint--that I approved hindering the investigation into Delay's alleged ethical violations? What I voiced displeasure with was the attempt by some to use the Delay investigation as a smoke screen to hide the inquiry into Hilary's alleged campaign finance violations. The former is a violation of House ethical rules which will get you "b****slapped", to coin a phrase. The latter will get you serious time at a federal penitentiary.

Now if you were making reference to Jay Tea's entire test and not just fixating on the Delay/Rosen question (as you seem prone to do), then I will apologize for reading more into then was there. I now await your apology for reading something into my post that clearly wasn't there. I am not, however, holding my breath.

The Sandy Berger story is t... (Below threshold)

The Sandy Berger story is the one that angers me the most. Here's a case of espionage if I ever saw one. Yet, the Dems act as if it was a joke. Says alot about how Liberals feel when it comes to national security. Berger got a slap on the wrist. And there's no followup investigation as to why he committed a crime and for whom he committed it.

And the GOP is to blame as well. When are they going to grow backbones? They should have been all over this story. They should have made it an "issue."

Brian,I think you ... (Below threshold)


I think you missed the entire point. The problem is that MSM has deemed one issue more important than the other and reported on these things ad nauseam while ignoring others equally as important or relegating them to the back pages of their publications and mere mentions in on-air news casts.

Oyster, I do get that point... (Below threshold)

Oyster, I do get that point. But I think the more important point is that Jay took issues that he thinks should be more prominent and framed them as if they're urgently important, and took issues that he doesn't care about and framed them as if they're inconsequential. This is exactly what some complain about from the MSM, but here it is in full form.

fatman, you're the one who brought up Rosen in this thread, so your allegation that I'm "fixating" on Rosen is laughable. And I never tried to draw attention away from Rosen and put it on DeLay. I think they should both get attention. Unlike some, it seems, I don't accept ethical or criminal violations from any of my leaders, including those in my own party. So keep holding your breath.

So, Brian, let me see if I ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

So, Brian, let me see if I get this right: you don't like my piece because I used it to express an OPINION?

Brian, I never claimed to be an objective journalist. (At least not in well over a decade.) Kevin calls me an "essayist," and to me that means expressing my opinions in the best way I can.

If you don't like my opinions, that's fine. You're part of a large crowd in that field. But for heaven's sake, don't complain that I HAVE them and STATE them. That's the whole POINT of most blogs, especially this one.







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