By Jonathon S. Platt
You probably saw this photo floating around in your newsfeed.
It’s a selfie, which is now apparently a real word, by Miss Israel with Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan. And it was big “news” in the Middle East.
Following the post, headlines like “Miss Lebanon’s selfie with Miss Israel sparks uproar” and “Asymmetrical warfare: Did Miss Israel photobomb Miss Lebanon?” ran throughout the region.
The fuss: Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon’s countries have been warring for 69 years. The two exchanged fire just two days ago in which a Lebanese missile was fired in retaliation to Israel’s drone strikes from last week. Two Israeli soldiers were killed in Wednesday’s conflict.
The entire contest itself annoys me. Why are we waging war on misogyny and disrespect, yet oogling over the product-ization of women and judging these contestants by just arbitrary standard, like beauty and “talent?”
But my bigger question: why in the world is this news?
A few girls took a picture. But they weren’t suppose to. And then the gossip ensued. Some claim that Miss Israel photobombed the situation. I’ve seen some make the excuse that Miss Lebanon is actually gritting her teeth, not smiling.
All this bickering reminds me of middle school. Or a scene from “Mean Girls.”
And it’s being blasted on news websites, television news programs and, of course, all over the tabloids.
Again, why is this news?
I think comedian Jim Gaffigan sums up well why we’re obsessed with sophomoric incidents like this.
This competition and all the fallout from it are centered around our obsession with other people’s business. But the purpose of the news media is to inform, not entertain.
Therefore, I challenge my fellow journalists to cease the coverage and incitement of these issues. Let’s cover the issues. Let’s inform the public. Let’s do so with taste, integrity and skill.
Because, frequently, I’m not seeing this done.
One more thing, I think Miss Israel’s response is absolutely golden.
“Too bad you cannot put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country,” she said on her Facebook.