19 May 2016
When I got up this morning I did a little channel surfing through the news networks. I was amazed to find none of them talking about Donald Trump. Instead, all were fishing for every tidbit of news about the Egyptian airliner that apparently had gone down last night, possibly due to terrorism. I wondered whether regular viewers resented the attention given this event. Did they consider it a distraction from the important stories of the day, the week, the year? I'd guess not, because otherwise the networks wouldn't all go to all-crash coverage, or at least one would break ranks to give people the latest political gossip. While the abrupt disappearance of an Egyptian airliner flying from France probably does seem relevant to larger narratives so long as terrorism can't be ruled out, it's also true that a morbid fascination with mass death transcends many Americans' ordinary indifference to foreign peoples and countries. It may be that a similar morbid fascination explains the media fascination with Trump and the apparently increasing likelihood of his presidency. If so, then the news networks weren't really changing their policy this morning. It's just that EgyptAir was just the flavor of the day.