Apr 072005
Authors: Gavin McMeeking

At long last, I have finally found the perfect product. Browsing the Fox News Channel Web site, as I'm sure all of us find ourselves doing from time to time, I came upon the Fox News Channel online store.

Hidden among the "O'Reilly Factor" golf shirts and "Make a Liberal's Day, Shoot Him in the Head" baseball hats was a real gem: The Fox & Friends white toaster. Not only does it toast two slices of bread at one time, but it also burns the Fox News logo on one side of each slice. Yes, it is really there. And people say it's hard to shop for Mother's Day.

I regale you with this tale of pure bread-warming-device shopping bliss as a counter to the argument that Fox News Channel hasn't made any meaningful contribution to the world. Clearly it has, as it makes toasters.

Some say that the news industry in this country stinks. Nonstop coverage of sensational, often trivial news "events" are favored over real — in the words of Derek Zoolander – "investigative journalism." It is a little tough to get down on the CNN and Fox News Channels (sorry, MSNBC, you still don't count) for the nonstop coverage of Michael Jackson walking in and out of a courtroom, though. It appears to be exactly what most Americans want to see. I must confess I saw that he was wearing black today. I'm not sure what he was thinking. And that belt? Please.

The sad truth is that frankly, we don't really care about genocide in Sudan or human rights violations in some humid and hot country. They can't compete with Terri Schaivo or Paris Hilton. With so many important political issues to discuss these days – wars in Iraq, maybe Korea, maybe Syria, Schaivo, the next pope – it's easy for other important issues to get left out of the punditry party.

This is a shame, because, like most Americans, I feel the best way to learn about the nuance positions of both sides of an argument is to listen to talking heads insult each other for a half hour before breaking for commercial. If Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes aren't talking about something, then I don't know what to think about it. I usually end up sitting huddled in the corner of some windowless room, shuddering and chewing on a bathroom towel until someone finds me.

So I think we can all agree that it would be better if the mainstream media paid attention to some of the other stories that leak through the cracks. Therefore, to do my part I will bring some attention to what I fear will be an issue that receives little attention.

An energy bill working its way through Congress was amended Wednesday that would extend daylight-saving time by two months, having it start on the first Sunday in March and end on the last Sunday in November. The proposal was introduced in order to reduce the demand for imported oil because daylight-saving time is thought to reduce energy needs. That and congressmen and congresswomen would be able to golf later in the day following their congressional duties.

All I can say is it is about time.

I was interested to see if there would be much protest to this tough political stance that would, single-handedly, solve the United States' energy woes. I was surprised to see that not only was daylight saving being mentioned in such well-known periodicals as The National Review, but it also had entire Web sites, such as www.standardtime.com, devoted to it. As I read over the material presented by these fine outlets I quickly realized that this issue is far too complicated for me to really talk about, since I'm not very good at talking about complicated things. In essence, I suppose the side of the great daylight-saving debate you take depends on whether you are a morning or evening person. So there you go.

After my experimentation in hard-hitting journalism, it's easy to see why the big media outlets stick to the simple, sensational stuff. It's a lot less work and you can sell people lots of toasters. It is just a small part of a United States I think we can all be proud of.

Gavin McMeeking is a graduate atmospheric science major. His column runs every Friday in the Collegian.

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