Undernews – (Noun) News that is widely available on the Internet (particularly blogs) but doesn’t get much (or any) attention in the Mainstream Media.
I didn’t coin the term. It’s been kicking around for years. What can I say; I don’t always keep up with the vocabulary of the cool kids. Can ya’ dig it?
At any rate it’s a concept I use all the time. I’ll bump into some tidbit on the intertubes and make a few checks to make sure I’m not falling for the next joke to be posted on Snopes. Eventually I’ll bring the topic up in a conversation with a normal human being (as opposed to a newshound or blogger). In general, folks will react as if I’ve got antennae coming out of my head (I’m used to it). Other times they’ll say “oh yeah I heard that on the Daily Show” and I’ll know the “undernews” has made it to the “mainstream”.
Here are a few bits of “undernews”. A few became too big to ignore, others are still in the “ignore it and it’ll go away” phase. Consider:
- At some point even the mainstream media gave up on the cockamamie idea that people just happened to be walking down the street near an American embassy when an obscure YouTube video made them froth at the mouth and whip out the rockets and mortars they just happened to be carrying. The People’s Cube sums it up in delicious satire. The undernews knew it was the real deal the day it happened, for the mainstream it’s a gradual acceptance still inching along months later.
- The undernews that Trevon Martin wasn’t a choir boy and George Zimmerman shouldn’t sit in the can for a decade has apparently seeped out.
- The undernews that the BATF gave guns to Mexican criminals on purpose eventually hit the mainstream and was reported for about a millisecond before being studiously ignored. (By the way, the BATF pisses me off by cooking up schemes more suited to a Bond villain than anything sane. I sound like a loon when I type it but they’re the morons who came up with the idea!)
- Everyone groks that North Dakota is having an energy boom (largely on private land!). The fact that America’s import of liquid fuel (crude oil) has been cut in half (or more) since 2005 remains undernews.
- Everyone heard that a Hawaiian CO2 observation post recently hit 400 ppm. The undernews is that “from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.”
That’s just a sample. I think it’s a good way to calibrate the difference between “reality” and whatever the heck everyone is hearing from the talking heads on TV. The gap between what is true and what people believe obviously ebbs and flows. In particularly the proximity to a major or mid term election seems to widen it. You won’t be surprised that the letter after the sitting president’s name (“D” or “R”) makes up a huge portion of the gap. (One of the unexpected advantages of a Republican president is that “journalists” take off their cheerleader’s outfits and start mercilessly hammering the guy in the big chair. I’ll take rabid hacks to fluffers anyday!)
Rather than flail around wishing for mainstream news which reports… um… true things. I choose to be thankful that I’m no longer under their thumb. We have the Internet; lucky us! In 2013 a citizen’s degree of misinformation is partially self inflicted; in 1965 you had to hope Walter Cronkite wasn’t totally full of shit. (Also, 2013 is when I enjoy the schadenfreude of watching newspapers that used have a stranglehold on my news lose money like it’s an Olympic sport.)
P.S. Hat tip to a recent National Review article: A Delayed Public Reaction to Obama Scandals? Or No Reaction at All? and a 2008 Huffington Post article: Why Won’t The Media Cover Edwards? Because They Don’t Have To Yet. (Backstory: For those of you that don’t recall, John Edwards was a long time senator well into his 2008 candidacy for president when the story gradually and reluctantly broke that he’d had an affair, fathered an illegitimate child, and allegedly used campaign funds to pay off his mistress. The undernews had been around forever but it took, ironically, the National Enquirer, to finally print what everyone had been pondering. After that the rest of the press had no choice to by follow up. His wife, in late stages of cancer, legally separated from Edwards but died in 2010 before she could jump through the hoops to officially file for divorce. By 2011 Edwards was indicted on six counts of violating campaign finance laws. The 2012 result was five mis-trials and one not guilty.)