Potato Chips

Monica Eats Potato Chips...And A Miracle By Paul Wein The other day, I picked up

penniesPotato Chips

Potato Chips

Monica Eats Potato Chips…And A Miracle

By Paul Wein

The other day, I picked up the New York Post as I do every morning to find on page three – which is usually reserved for the top news stories – an “exclusive” story on Former White House Intern Monica Lewinsky. The focus of the story was that the Post “learned” that she wanted to take aerobics classes, but could not go to the posh gym Crunch Fitness because she is – as an employee of the gym called her – “too high profile” to avoid onlookers while she worked out. So the gym agreed to send a personal trainer to Monica’s plush three thousand dollar a month apartment – something the gym has never done before, but has decided to do for Monica because she is a “special circumstance.” The story also mentioned that she is still under contract with Jenny Craig Weight Loss to lose weight – but was recently “caught” eating potato chips. This story was apparently so important and newsworthy that in addition to being on page three – it was also mentioned on the front page.

As I skimmed through the paper, I noticed a three or four paragraph story on page eighteen buried beneath a story entitled, “Di’s Bodyguard Will Mourn At Graveside”, an ad stating, “Can Herbs Improve Your Sex Life?”, and a house ad promoting the Post’s new gossip website. It was a story about a man in France who was paralyzed from the neck down and had a radical new operation which involved replacing his damaged nerves in his legs and pelvis with more than fifteen electrodes and implanting a computer chip in his abdomen. Using a remote controlled walking stick, he presses buttons that convert radio signals into nerve impulses enabling him to walk. After the successful surgery – he was able to stand up and kiss his wife for the first time in 10 years. The doctor who performed the surgery believes that since the breakthrough surgery was successful – it could mean hope for hundreds of thousands of paraplegics.

I ask you – which story is more newsworthy?

Has our fourth estate become so skewed that a celebrity’s new bra, new boyfriend or new baby has become more important then one of the most incredible medical advancements in recent memory? If it has – then God help us.

I remember a time when I would turn to the newspapers for just that – the news. The latest in Washington, my neighborhood and around the world. When I wanted to know about celebrities, gossip and the latest fashions – I watched Entertainment Tonight and A Current Affair. If the papers we turn to for news now consider gossip and celebrities their top stories – where do we turn now?

Don’t get me wrong, there is a market for this type of story – if there wasn’t – the papers wouldn’t write about it. But when the whole paper becomes Page Six – what happens to the real news of the day?

I think the reason that gossip is so popular these days is because the media feeds it to us every day and sneaks the other stories past us while we are still focused on the gossip. Perhaps if they tried reporting real, important, meaningful stories – like they used to – they might just sell as many papers – if not more.

I ask you once again, which is more newsworthy: “Monica Gets Personal Trainer” or “Paralyzed Man Walks! Cure For Paralysis Found!”




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