Does a tree make a noise only for the cameras?

What is news? And who decides what is news? Is one politician attacking another, an event which happens every other day, always news? Is the stock market going up or down, an event which could happen several times a day, sometimes on the same day, news?

These are old questions and they get asked again courtesy this MSNBC video of a set of newscasters playing around with news of Paris Hilton getting out of prison. One of them, Mika Brzezinski, refuses to talk about the Hilton heiress, tries to set fire to the manuscript, and then shreds it—all the time with her eyes on the camera.

The point Brzezinski is trying to make, and it is a very popular point, is that we have had too much of Paris Hilton, that her being released is not news, and that there are bigger, more important things happening in the world.

Maybe, but is it even journalism to consciously avoid something especially after providing the oxygen for Paris’ “feats” which landed her in prison?

There is also an inbuilt belief that by depriving that oxygen of publicity to Paris, somehow she will stop doing the kind of silly things she has become famous for. Associated Press tried a week-long boycott for some time. And now Us Weekly has decided to follow suit.

But, seriously, does a tree make a noise when it falls, only when the cameras are around?

Who came first? Paris Hilton or MSNBC?

Also read: Can the media only cover what it wants to?

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