Josh is right. The news cycle has inverted and started to feed on itself. Here are two pieces that illustrate the point.
Exhibit A is an AP story headlined “Sex Scandals Dominate Midterm Elections.” (Subhede: “Will election be a referendum on men behaving badly?”). It’s the sort of breezy, pox on both your houses roundup that tries to pass for political analysis. Are sex scandals dominating the midterms, or is Iraq? And are these scandals really about the sex, or about violence and abuse of power?
Rep. Don Sherwood cheated on his wife, sure, but he also allegedly tried to choke his mistress. Rep. Jim Gibbons may have been drinking and flirting with an off-duty cocktail waitress, but there’s a difference of more than just degree between flirting with, or even boinking, a young lovely and pushing her up against the wall of an empty parking garage and threatening her unless she consents, as she alleges.
There’s also a difference, and this obviously can’t be said often enough, between being gay and being a serial seducer of young male pages. The AP story says the only thing missing from the Foley sex scandal is the sex. Huh? Someone needs to go back and re-read the clips.
Exhibit B is in the Style section of the Washington Post today, a piece on how the term “October Surprise” has been wrung of practically any meaning: “Over time the phrase has been bandied about and overused to the point that it now means any startling surprise from any direction that might somehow affect the outcome of an election.” True enough, but reporting about the reporting is a indication of a news cycle that, in the minds of editors and reporters, is peetering out.
The low-hanging fruit of the Foley scandal has been picked, and it’s back to the hard work of reporting–unless you prefer scavenging among the rotting fruit that fell to the ground.