Here are, in no particular order, some of the things that are happening in America right now: The Supreme Court has upheld President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban. The Supreme Court has dealt a major blow to public-sector unions and the labor movement. Anthony Kennedy has announced a retirement that will drastically change the Court’s makeup. A 28-year-old Democratic Socialist has beaten an incumbent who was favored for a House leadership position in a New York congressional primary. And there are, of course, approximately 5,438 other things—urgent things, tragic things, funny things, world-changing things, America-changing things—that are playing out in the world right now.
And yet: The main news story of this week, among many American news outlets, has been none of those things, because the main news story of this week has been not a story at all so much as an omni-indignant debate about a restaurant, an administration official, and the workings of civility. Which is a debate that has played out while the main news story of the previous week—the separation of thousands of children from their families at the U.S. border—has remained as much of a story as ever. Even as the media attention given to the story—news wears its bias in its name—has dissipated into the summer heat.