It's telling that, as of midnight today, the CNN website is giving the Russia-Georgia conflict a lower billing than the latest revelations about John Edwards' extramarital affair. This order of priorities is ludicrous from the standpoint of the real relative importance of these events. But it does fit my theory that most people who follow political news do so primarily to get information they find interesting or entertaining rather than to learn about objectively important issues in order to become better-informed voters. A tawdry affair by a presidential candidate who dropped out of the race a long time ago is insignificant compared to a bloody conflict with major implications for US strategic interests in a crucial part of the world (to say nothing of the loss of life). But the affair may have greater entertainment value, and entertainment is what CNN must provide in order to give the majority of viewers what they want and keep up its ratings.
UPDATE: MSNBC also has the Edwards story as its top headline. But, to its credit, the Fox News site is giving top billing to the Russia-Georgia story - despite Fox's longstanding reputation as the more superficial of the three big news networks.
UPDATE #2: I suppose I should make it clear that I'm not claiming that Fox is generally less superficial than CNN or MSNBC, merely that they chose the right order of priorities in this particular instance.
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