David Horsey had a fun column on the dilemma faced by news outlets on Tuesday evening: which news story to cover.
What appears to be the fiery finale to Christopher Dorner's violent rampage across Southern California nearly upstaged President Obama's State of the Union address. As the seconds ticked down to the start of the speech, it seemed as though Anderson Cooper and the folks at CNN were awfully reluctant to break away from the burning cabin near Big Bear where the disgruntled, unhinged ex-cop from the Los Angeles Police Department appeared to be holed up.
Nevertheless, the cable news organizations did their duty and switched from the sensational to the substantial. They were rewarded with an unusually news-making speech from Obama. As police officials appeared close to confirming that the deadly Dorner saga had ended, the president was confirming that he is just getting started on an aggressive agenda for the coming year. ...
Tuesday was a big night for news. One story was like a action-packed cop show straight from Hollywood, the other was a bit like a political melodrama we have seen many times before. Still, the president gave a good performance and earned whatever audience he was able to grab from the police showdown in the Southern California woods.
Embedded in the column was a little mini-poll asking readers which of the two events they watched. As of last night, more than half reported watching local coverage of the Dorner story. I suspect that nation wide, that poll might not hold up, if only because of access. This was a big story for Southern California, involving an oft troubled police department. Even so, that poll and the ongoing discussions I've heard and read today which dealt more with the Dorner story than the Obama speech (and responses from Rubio and Rand) are troubling.
It's as if there is a complete disconnect between the general population and its national government. Local stories are more important than grandiose speeches -- that I could live with, I suppose -- but national plans, national issues and how to resolve them seem to be off the radar.
And that I find quite disquieting.