Walter Cronkite's longtime producer Leslie Midgley once wrote that, "News is what an editor decides it is." News today is what TV producers decide can help President Obama. News that hurts isn't news at all.
In the last week, network anchors like Brian Williams repeated endlessly that the Occupy Wall Street protests are "increasingly resonating." It's the story reporters will declare, "isn't going away" -- and they're going to see to it. They are using their microphones like yellow Hi-liter pens to draw attention to it.
Don't you wish journalists would do the opposite on stories they want to drop down the memory hole? You'll never hear "This story has no resonance at all." That could have been said in the brief network attention paid so far to the Obama administration's Solyndra scandal.
Most Americans could still be fooled into thinking Solyndra is a new laundry detergent, not a failed solar energy company that took a half-billion dollars in Obama "green job" loans and went belly up. It's another Enron.
You remember Enron. In the first two months of 2002, the big three networks reported a stunning 198 stories on the Enron bankruptcy. Back then, Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe was traveling from one studio to the next denouncing George W. Bush's "Enronomics" and "Enronizing" of Social Security. On CNN, "Crossfire" host Bill Press joked along: "I'm all for politicizing Enron."
That's shorthand for "campaign finance reform." CBS anchor Dan Rather touted, "A late-night showdown tonight in the House on long-blocked legislation for an at least partially-meaningful campaign money reform bill. The bill was revived mostly by the shame of Enron."
Enron was also used to kill Social Security reforms. NBC anchor Tom Brokaw led into a Karl Rove interview: "Karl Rove was forced to sell his Enron shares at a loss last year to comply with ethics regulations. Even though thousands lost their life savings in Enron stock and 401(k) accounts, this administration is pressing ahead to allow all Americans to buy stock as part of their Social Security accounts."
Now there's Solyndra. Team Obama doesn't want anyone "politicizing" Solyndra or trying to coin "Solyndranomics." They want minimalist coverage, and that's precisely what they're getting. Since its Aug. 31 bankruptcy filing, ABC, CBS and NBC have filed a grand total of 15 stories on Solyndra. That's an Enron-to-Solyndra comparison of 24 to 1.