During ABC's coverage of the Indianapolis 500 (and I'm guessing ABC will continue to promote the "story" for all it is worth -- which isn't much, but that is the cynic in me), ABC noted that there were only a few days to go before Diane Sawyer's interview with Brad Pitt. The interview will appear on the network's (supposed news program) PrimeTime Live.
I was disappointed by the almost breathless narrator hyping this event but was not surprised. The upcoming interview is the latest in a line of dramatic, you don't want to miss this events promoted by news organizations. The implication for viewers -- something important, even newsworthy, is going to take place and you need to see it.
No, nothing important is going to happen and you don't need to see it.
I call this "chocolate cake" news coverage and reporting. Sure, chocolate cake tastes good but it is never a replacement for substantive food (my 6-year-old would disagree, but again that is another story!). "Chocolate cake" news coverage promotes the celebrity, the entertainment, the dramatic, the flavor-of-the-month over "substantive news" - government policies, enterprise reporting, and other issues that have relevance to the lives of America's citizens.
My argument here is not that news programming always has to be serious and dull. But it does have to be news. And with all due respect to Brad Pitt, an actor who I think is very talented, an interview with him is not "substantive news." It's "chocolate cake" and ABC should be embarrassed by passing it off as news. However, ABC is not the only news organization doing this kind of thing.