With everything in the "news" these days, it's hard not to think about Neil Postman's 1985 book "Amusing Ourselves to Death."
Postman writes that television has transformed meaningful conversations into entertainment, where the power of the sound bite has more of an effect than thoughtful dialogue.
He also writes that a good looks trump talent, which is why you rarely seeing a female newscaster over 40.
Indeed, the fact that John Kennedy beat out Richard Nixon largely based on the televised 1960 debate aligns with this theory. And the 300-pound Howard Taft would have never been elected president had TV been a medium to promote campaign efforts.
When we study history, the famous Lincoln-Douglas debate played out for hours. Think that would translate well to TV? It's all about sound bites. Give us your elevator pitch. Tell us how you'll defend the country, balance the budget and save the world in two minutes or less.
So is it any surprise that Anna Nicole Smith clogs the TV news? And why should we care about who Tom Brady slept with? And why is Britney Spears' shears news?
Without television, these events would not have nearly the impact they do. Never has a communications medium had the power to create and manipulate content.
It's not that the current state is appalling. We all have our guilty pleasures. We just need to admit what's happening.
Clearly, Postman is right. We are amusing ourselves to death.