Greg Gutfeld: The war in Ukraine reveals an old truth about news

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Now, one challenge of doing the news these days is not treating the war like every other story: As entertainment. Here we make the news entertaining, perhaps better than any show that ever came before it. Largely due to me. 

And that our competition over at CNN is as fun as a case of crabs, and not the ones that are delicious with melted butter. 

But now we run headfirst into daily atrocity and I don’t mean facing a hungover cat in the hallway. 

Ukraine is war, and it’s ugly with grim imagery and relentless horror stories. But the news requires standard narratives, and if you veer off the beaten track, God help you. 

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Other issues demanded the same solemn treatment: ISIS, pandemic death tolls, a Kamala Harris speech. I mean, what about the significance of the passage of time? Am I right?

KAMALA HARRIS: Yeah, the significance of the passage of time. Right. The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time … and there is such great significance to the passage of time. 

She is truly a national treasure. If by treasure, you mean embarrassment. 

But you know, bad news often becomes relentless news, and I get your mail and I get your tweets, so I understand. 

But the news dictates the mood. It’s like those mass shootings. We stop everything to go live to the scene, and we repeat the same 90 seconds of information, mainly because it’s all the information that we have available. 

It’s not the reporter’s fault, it’s the unstoppable predictability of the editorial loop. 

So, it’s the number of injured, dead location, city, shooter, repeat. 

Then comes the coverage of the coverage as the media turns into its usual circle of self-reflection. That’s where I come in. That’s my job. 

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See, I figure the news is really 30 minutes total, or the same time it takes Jimmy Fallia to steal a jacket from a homeless tramp. 

But like a Vegas casino, cable news never closes, which is why commentary rules. If it weren’t for bozos like me, you would have a lot of silence. 

Refugees fleeing war in neighboring Ukraine board a train at the Medyka border crossing, Poland, Thursday, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Refugees fleeing war in neighboring Ukraine board a train at the Medyka border crossing, Poland, Thursday, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole) (AP)

But when I was a kid, the news was like 30 minutes in the morning, a recap at lunch, another 30 during dinner unless something big happened like the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing or Marcia Brady going braless. 

Who could forget that? 

And life went on as usual. We played outside, got tuberculosis and shoveled snow year round.

CNN changed that. Now we have pretty much the same quantity of news, but we have to add a lot of hamburger helper to feed a family of 330 million. Or six Brian Stelter’s. 

CNN showed it was possible, and also showed us how it could destroy a country. Play the George Floyd video two times an hour for months, and you do more to undermine the fabric of a country than any foreign disinformation. 

Why look for good news when you can binge-watch home movies of the worst moments of your life? 

One news story becomes like a potato where you can figure out so many ways to prepare it. Au gratin, mashed, fried, but usually half-baked. 

First you report it, then you wonder how it affects the economy, the climate, the disadvantaged, the children, the economic climate for disadvantaged children, unless, of course, their father is Hunter Biden. 

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Then you turn it back on the media, which is my specialty. As the media reports the story, what is the media actually saying? 

I mean, other than it’s Trump’s fault and you’re racist, sexist and homophobic. 

In media commentary, we’re so high on the smell of our own farts, baked beans are an aphrodisiac. 

That is disgusting.

But in war, we get serious as it gets ugly. 

We lose the theme music, we drop the cute segments. We come in with breaking news graphics.

Now it’s nearly a month of this nightly grim routine. Bomb strikes, rubble, refugees, the dead rinse and repeat. 

We can’t do much else because none of us have any real insights, except maybe for Kilmeade. And that’s only because his male pattern baldness is in the shape of Belarus. 

Sometimes in my job, I run across stories that seem too on the nose. So we use phrases like “reportedly” or “some say,” like the waitress who finds a racist note on a receipt or an actor beaten by Trump supporters at night, or the idiot son of a president losing his laptop somewhere. 

Well, that story turned out to be legit, which is why they tried to suffocate it, like Rosie O’Donnell sitting on a Chihuahua. 

There were others out of Ukraine. The phantom jet fighter downing Russian jets, sailors refusing to surrender. 

But the only thing real that we know of is the brutality. 

War is bad, and the longer it goes, the worse it gets. 

But sadly, it makes a great miniseries. It’s the greatest show on Earth. If you’re lucky enough to live here and binge-watch it like a Netflix offering. 

But most importantly, it revives the old truth about TV news. If it bleeds, it leads. 

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But that just makes me wonder where it’s leading me? 

I hope someplace else other than World War III. 

This article is adapted from Greg Gutfeld’s opening commentary on the March 21, 2022 edition of “Gutfeld!”

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