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This man decides what you read

Miley Cyrus gave us so much that night. Just trying to count her blessings smacks of ingratitude, like regifting manna.

But two months later, as we attempt reentry into our dreary little lives,it’s worth remembering two articles that followed her star-turn at the Video Music Awards. In a merciless editorial, The Onion mocked journalists for publishing so much “stupid bullshit” about the pop star. A few days later, New York magazine found that Americans were 12 times more interested in Cyrus than in whatever was happening in Syria.

Together, these two pieces frame the plight of the media, circa 2013:  Sites that sell advertising have a strong incentive to crank out the editorial equivalent of empty calories. It's probably only a slight exaggeration to say that on the morning after Cyrus’s performance, any story that wasn't about twerking was leaving money on the  table.

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