Here's today's Cultural Barometer:
CBS NEWS of January 1, 2009 Evening Edition
The top story is entitled "OBAMA UNVEILS AMBITIOUS ECONOMIC AGENDA."
The subtitle is "In Midst of Crisis, President-Elect Urges Quick Action; Focuses on Job Creation; Clean Energy"
The following three "top stories" about Bernard Madoff-Ponzi, dead bodies on the Gaza battlefield, and Hamas's rejection of the Egypt cease-fire plan--all legitimate news stories, given America's economic problems and our foreign policy interests.
The next category is "CBS News Programs" (my emphasis).
And under that--the first big "news" story that Americans need to know about, one that greatly affects our domestic and international security-- is what?: "Brad [Pitt]: I Didn't Cheat On Jen [Aniston]With Angelina [Jolie]. Tells W Magazine He Didn't Start Seeing Angelina Until He And Jen Broke Up."
CBS runs this superficial silliness because doing so brings in advertising dollars, which sponsors pay because they sell their wares to the public--too many members of which care little about what the Madoff swindle signifies, or about what Gaza means for Israel and America, but instead hang on every word about little people who recite, for millions of dollars, words written by someone else.
To paraphrase a sometimes-seen bumper sticker: "I'm stupid, and I vote."