A little bit of (nothing) news

I live in flyover country, so maybe this won't surprise you, but I haven't wasted a lot of time or energy worrying about the budget debt crisis.

If history -- er, "West Wing" -- teaches us anything, it's that some kind of deal will be worked out at the midnight hour before Armageddon actually occurs. Yawn. Please spare me the partisan drama leading up to the 72-point headlines.

Speaking of the aforementioned budget debate, I stumbled upon an ABC News item that sent my "Lame-O-Meter" skyrocketing. My first thought was that the item was so lame as not to merit any mention at all, negative or otherwise. But then I came across it again in two places that I regularly scan for religion news: on the Religion News Service blog's daily news roundup and on Christianity Today's latest news feed.

It's just a little item on ABC's website (and that's a big part of the problem).

The headline:

Faith Leaders Arrested in US Capitol During Protest

The entire item is just four paragraphs, so I'm going to avoid violating any copyright laws and just copy and paste the first paragraph. But please read the whole thing so the rest of this post makes sense:

Eleven faith leaders from a range of denominations were arrested in the Capitol Rotunda Thursday as they staged a protest urging Congress to pass a budget agreement.

OK, you read the full report, right?

Does it tell the reader absolutely anything of value? What kind of budget agreement do the faith leaders want passed? Are they upset with just the Republicans or both parties?

Who are the 11 faith leaders, besides the rabbi in a wheelchair? Speaking of faith, what in the world does this protest have to do with the clergy present and the religious groups they represent? Why is this news? As a speaker on the YouTube video notes, the group went to the Capitol to engage in civil obedience and get arrested. Again, why is this news?

The Huffington Post provides more details and answers many of my questions. That news site also indicated that the rabbi that ABC reported was arrested was, in fact, not taken into custody. Not sure which news organization got it right, but I'd tend to go with the one that did some actual reporting. Here's what The Huffington Post said:

One protester who was not arrested, police said, was Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia.

Police gave Waskow, 77, a wheelchair while he waited with his colleagues for them to be cuffed with plastic bindings. They took the chair back after the last protester was arrested. It appeared as if the elderly leader hoped to keep it to leave, but police said he did not complain.

We live in interesting journalistic times where lots of news media are putting alleged "news" content in a blog format. It's quick and easy. And, sometimes, it's maddening.

End of rant. Now back to the debt ceiling weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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