"Below the Fold"

Noam Chomsky, whatever you may think of his politics (and I'm have mostly mixed feelings about them myself), he has an interesting take on where the "news" lives in news stories. During his talks at MIT and Harvard, he cites widely-available information to make his points about government co-opting democracy. He does NOT take his information from the top of news stories. Instead, he encourages his audience to read the last few paragraphs of the story to see where the news really lives. I agree with this assessment. The Front Page sells copy by appealing to reader prejudice. The payoff is usually buried beneath the fold--or more often on page A21.

This pattern is also followed in Internet tabloidism in interesting ways. While the tech press was have a field day over Motorola's CEO comment "Screw the nano," (a comment given with a wink, supposedly), his most interesting comment gets buried, IMHO:

On a more serious note, Zander bemoaned the lack of engineering students in the United States. "One big issue is our investment in education. We're not pushing enough science and math. Go around the world, and see the kind of national programs to push the sciences. We ought to own biotech, high tech and other areas," he said.

The business community often gives short shrift to funding education, or, at best, pretends that globalism is the answer to the declining advantage we have with our world-class universities. That a multinational CEO would say that "We ought to own biotech, high tech, and other areas" and that we should push "our investment in education" should be receiving MUCH more attention than an ambiguously pissy statement about an mp3 player. Seriously.

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