What Causes the Media to Focus on a Particular Story?

ABC News International ran an interesting story the other day about Mikhail Gorbachev. It covered the last years of Gorbachev’s control of the Soviet Union right before it collapsed. Today, Reuter’s ran yet another interesting analysis of the August Coup that precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union. Both stories came out of nowhere and pretty much had nothing to do with any particular story that was going on at the time. So, my question is: Why are mainstream news entities running these stories that seem to have no current relevance, yet both seem to be very intent on covering details that happened at around the same time, almost as if they’re complementing each other to tell us a much larger story of some kind of relevance.

Normally, I wouldn’t notice this, but I happened to have done a lot of research on the August Coup for my master’s thesis a few years ago, and it’s currently the setting of my most recent novel, 72 Hours in August. So when this sort of story drops, and it has a lot of relevance to what I’m writing, I find it very significant. However, before this, there was almost no information on the subject, which made for some very difficult research at the time. Now, it’s almost as if I could have just typed Google and would have everything I needed a few years ago. It sometimes doesn’t make any sense.

So I wonder at what agenda news medias have when they run these sorts of stories. Is there something going on with Gorbachev right now that causes senior members of the media establishment to want us to focus on the information? Is Russia about to become highly relevant again on the international stage in a way that it isn’t already? Does some analogy of coups have the possibility of transcending current events in a way that someone feels we need to have this seed planted before new events take place? In other words, is some huge coup coming around the corner, involving social media (in which Yeltsin’s response to the August Coup pretty much reinvented social media responses to huge events) so that we need to be reminded of how significant resistance is because we’re about to experience it again? Or is this such a slow news cycle that media personnel are resurrecting old stories for no reason, that have no connection to anything, just because there’s nothing else going on?

I tend to go with the conspiracy side of the house. I believe things are linked for reasons, even if it’s not that obvious why. I’m not saying there’s some diabolical mustache-twirler in a hidden office hidden underground who is manipulating things (although I’m not saying there’s not one either), but some things seem a little too random to be completely random, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, I’m wondering if we’ll start to see the third prong of the story framing, because one thing still seems to be missing, and I have a feeling it’s coming around the corner. Unfortunately, my guess as to what it will be is probably as good as yours. Or worse, considering I usually suspect Elmo is involved, but that’s a whole other issue….

duaneWhat Causes the Media to Focus on a Particular Story?

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