The news that isn't happening
The media saturation we've experienced over the slow and sorrowful Schiavo case is now fading, along with the women herself. The latest round-the-clock story is the death vigil for the Pope. And, of course, the Jackson case continues in fits and starts when there's not much else to report, now that Peterson has been sentenced and put away.
It's easy to see what is being covered in the news. It's hard, if not impossible, to remember what isn't happening.
Three years ago Israel was rocked by suicide bombing after suicide bombing, in close succession. It was difficult to see how anything would ever stop that pattern. Remember the grisly Iraqi beheadings of less than a year ago, the kidnappings and the grim hostage videos that were almost a daily occurrence? Now they are few and far between, and the hostages tend to be released. Even the horrific suicide bombings in Iraq, so numerous right before and after the election, have declined in recent weeks.
It's human nature to stop dwelling on something that isn't happening any more. It's easy to forget how commonplace that very thing was only a short while ago. We want to forget terrible things, we don't want to hold them in our minds. And the media makes sure it replaces them with the news de jour, which of course is as it should be.
But sometimes I wish we had an alternate history to hold before us, the history of what would still be happening if certain actions hadn't been taken. If Israel hadn't held firm and built the wall; if the Iraqis hadn't bravely turned out in record numbers for that election; if, if, if.
It is so very easy to criticize what is, what has actually been done. The resultant faults and flaws are right before our eyes. The world will always be imperfect; each action will create its own problems. But the even worse (perhaps far worse) things that might have happened but for those actions--those always remain invisible and unknowable, and can only be guessed at.
I don't follow the Michael Jackson trial, but every time I turn on the TV and see it being covered so intensely, I breathe a little sigh of relief, because it means that it's a slow news day, a regular news day.
And slow news is good news.