Why is This News? Should Some Things Be Considered “Newsworthy” At All?

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I’ll admit it. I’m probably the least political writer on this site.

I write a lot about education, and occasionally I’ll get fired up enough to write about my political leanings in areas like abortion and women’s rights.  I’ll write political leaders letters when I feel like they have taken a wrong turn, which is often since you know…government.

I can watch the news for only brief spurts. Either newscasters are talking about horrible things happening to innocent people thus tickling the triggers of my anxiety, or they are talking about complicated things using even more complicated jargon.

But lately there is another reason I avoid the news. I can’t stand watching politicians and other government officials having to air their personal business.

I went to the twitter today asking people if they cared about all the affairs that government officials have that get publicized by the media.

The response was almost a unanimous: NO.

With some exception (please disregard my terrible scribbling…just trying to protect the innocent, here).

This is how I feel too.  I do not care that senators cheated on their wives.  I don’t care that a secretary of something or other is filing for divorce. And I certainly don’t care if their kids got caught doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing.

Again, I agree. I want to know about a possible security breach, much like the Jerry Springer-esque drama that is going on in the news right now with Petraeus, but the nitty gritty stuff and who is filing for divorce from whom? This is not news that I am looking for when I actually take time to read national news.

Again, I totally agree.

No one is exempt from the drama, but as many others on twitter were quick to point out, for some reason the people of the United States have some unattainable expectation of purity from their leaders.

They want their past and present to be lilly white. They want their marriages to be strong and legit.

Let’s be honest, a big reason President Obama appeals to so many is because of his wife and daughters. They are seen as a power team. A happy family who keeps it “real” by eating together and upholding the “traditional” family values.

If he and Michelle are having problems, we can’t know about them because it would hurt his role as our leader.

But why?  Are a leader’s choices in his/her private life linked to his/her ability to fulfill the job the people elected him/her to?

Some think yes.

My gut reaction is no, and I am not alone.

I guess if the CEO had an affair with the CEO of the competition maybe she would resign, but maybe not. And unless she was the CEO of say, GM, it probably wouldn’t make the news.

So why do we care?

Why do affairs and divorce and so on count as NEWS on channels that are not E! or on news shows that don’t have “Hollywood” in the name?

Should it even be considered “news” or is it just trainwreck-style gawking for pageviews and rankings?


  1. Although my CEO just resigned because of an affair. Granted it was an affair with a subordinate so it violated our Ethics policy so that is a little different. For the most part, I don’t think any of us need the details at all. But when something can impact national security, like in the Petraus situation, I think it should be dealt with but not have all the details publicized.

  2. THANK YOU! I’m so tired of hearing about all of this drama. I don’t care which politician or CEO, or Wall Street investor is having an affair or getting a divorce, or really anything in their personal lives. If only the majority of Americans cared about issues and not the sensationalized news that we get now.


  1. […] is everything they do newsworthy? Do we need to know everything about their lives? For me the answer is “no”, but for many, too […]