People have a tendency to make stories out of things that never were stories to begin with.
That’s what tabloid reporting essentially is. They report things that you probably never needed to know. But it’s easy enough to avoid. Though it’ll pop up on your social media feeds more than you like, thanks probably to an old high school classmate you’re still friends with on Facebook who shares links posted by Z100 or Perez Hilton.
But even when it comes to important world issues, journalists will still find the most inane minutia to nitpick.
Look no further than the Middle East.
A lot’s going on there right now. The Arab Spring revolts a few years ago brought about huge changes to governments in Egypt, Lubya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and few other countries there. But one country that has remained fairly stable is Saudi Arabia.
Their king just died a week ago, but since then, the country has already named his successor and the next two people in line afterwards. So they’re pretty set for a while. Because Saudi Arabia is such an important cog in the area (and a large exporter of the world’s oil), Barack Obama went there earlier this week to pay his respects with a rather large convoy that included the First Lady.
The political ramifications were pretty significant, but rather than focusing on that, people instead analyzed Michelle Obama’s outfit.
Saudi Arabia abides by strict gender restrictions for clothing, requiring women to cover up their entire bodies, including the use of head scarves. Michelle wore no such head covering, and it’s apparently a pretty big deal.
I turned on CNN this morning and a group of people were discussing whether it was actually a political move on her behalf.
Yes, because I’m sure when Michelle Obama peered into her closet that morning, she let geopolitics dictate what wardrobe she chose.
I always said that selfies might one day lead to international conflict, but I never actually thought that would prove accurate. Doron Matalon, or Miss Israel, posted on Instagram a photo of herself with Miss Slovenia, Miss Japan, and … Miss Lebanon.
Israel and Lebanon are considered enemies. The two countries have been at war already in the last decade, and just recently, Israel and Hezbollah — an Islamic militant group based in Lebanon — exchanged rocket fire. So now, with this photo, people were saying that Miss Lebanon, also known as Saly Greige, was fraternizing with the enemy.
All I can say is that if you can look at the photo, of four women considered the most beautiful in their country, and all you see is controversy, then I feel sorry for you. Because you’re missing out.
So between head scarves and a selfie both being hailed as huge geopolitical controversies, it’s safe to say that tabloid journalism is alive and well, regardless of the context.
And thanks to the existence of that picture, I’m also strongly contemplating taking a trip to Slovenia.