God Save the Media

The media is obsessing over the last vestige of an obnoxious anachronism

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I join my fellow media members in congratulating Kate Middleton and William Windsor on becoming parents. I'm most delighted by the "news" because with luck the media will stop treating it like news.

Over in the United Kingdom, they're fond of saying "God save the Queen." Watching the it's-like-real-news-but-less-filling! coverage of the blessed royal event puts me in a mind to say "God save the media." Heaven knows someone needs to.

CNN had a little "Awaiting Royal Baby" picture-in-picture live shot of the outside of the hospital where the action was taking place, because, presumably, viewers wouldn't want to miss a single moment of the outside of a building in Britain. Though they're missing some moments because CNN doesn't include the live shot with all stories: "89 Dead in Earthquake in China" gets it, while "Report: Limo Driver on the Phone," about a fiery limousine that killed several women at a bachelorette party, does not; you can be sure that "Michael Jackson's Mother Back on Stand" gets the picture-in-picture, while viewers of the "Woman Plummets to Death on Coaster" story are spared.

And of course CNN has both a "Royal Commentator," a "Royal Correspondent" and a "Royal Historian."

[Weigh in: Does the Royal Baby Need So Much Attention?]

I don't mean to pick on CNN, it just happens to be what I have on (across the newsroom, I can see Fox periodically interrupting its Benghazi coverage to give royal updates too). I get (if in an eye-rolling way) the Brits' obsession with the Windsor family, but why is the American media caught up in this? (Answer: celebrity trumps all.)

Major news organizations are devoting time and resources to covering the last vestiges of an obnoxious anachronism, the idea that a certain group of people has the right to rule simply by the fact of being born. I have nothing against the royal family as people – I'm sure they're much like everyone else (kind of my point), only wealthier. But the lead-story coverage of the whole thing is tiresome.

Hot Air's Ed Morrissey summed it up pretty well, I thought, as the press covering "a rich woman going into labor." Of course, he does so while starting up an open thread for readers to comment on the baby watch. But who can blame him – a blogger's got to get readers some way, and if that means you catch the wave by criticizing it (as with the blog post you're reading) so be it.

Kudos to the British newspaper The Guardian for finding a sane way to handle this. Their homepage has a link you can click on indicating whether you're a "royalist" or "not a royalist" – those in the latter camp are treated to a Kate-free Guardian home page, while the former can get their fill of baby slide shows.

If only CNN would offer a royal-free broadcast.

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