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article imageOp-Ed: MSNBC cuts off NSA interview for 'breaking news' of Bieber arrest

By Brett Wilkins     Jan 24, 2014 in Entertainment
By now, the whole world knows how pop sensation Justin Bieber went and got himself arrested after getting wasted and drag racing an arrest-me-yellow Lamborghini down in Miami Beach.
The sordid details of Biebs' bust-- the look of stupor on his face, how he allegedly resisted arrest while dropping profuse F-bombs, how he just couldn't believe this was all happening to him-- are all over the celebrity gossip sites. And not just the tabloids-- 'serious' news sites like the venerable New York Times and even the Wall Street Journal devoted considerable effort to covering this 'breaking news' story.
But if you're looking for proof of just how confused this nation's priorities are-- and how the corporate mainstream media enables and exacerbates the situation, look no further than MSNBC, purportedly cable TV's standard-bearer for progressive news and analysis.
On Thursday, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, anchor of the hard news program Andrea Mitchell Reports, was interviewing Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) about NSA surveillance reform. The NSA spying scandal continues to be one of the biggest news stories in the world, one which literally affects millions, if not tens or hundreds of millions of people in nearly every nation on earth.
Rep. Harman was telling Mitchell how the NSA's massive (and illegal) data collection effort was "not that useful and infringes on personal privacy" when the anchor interrupted her for a "breaking news" alert. Was it the independent Congressional panel releasing its findings that NSA snooping was indeed illegal? The ongoing turmoil in Egypt, Ukraine, Syria or Thailand? Perhaps the ceasefire in South Sudan? No, it was Bieber's arrest. Really. One can only imagine what went through the congresswoman's mind when she was cut off for that.
Apparently, US government snooping on our personal, confidential phone and electronic communications isn't as pressing an issue as the arrest of a Canadian pop star. We shouldn't rush to pile all the blame on MSNBC for giving the masses what they want. We're all a little at fault here-- even here on Digital Journal, too often 'news' stories about some guy who cock-slapped his hapless wife in the face (more than 3,000 'shares') or some girl who ate her own bloody tampon (over 10,000 'shares') get all the clicks, thereby encouraging those of us who decide what's 'news' to keep feeding the beast.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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