A new army of heroes is emerging on U.S. television — not with superhuman strength or the power to fly but the ability to detect lies and deceit in an era of public distrust of civic leaders and institutions…

Now a crop of dramas is showcasing mind-readers, investigators with acute observational powers, psychics and even game show contestants hooked up to lie detectors.

This headline got my hopes up, making me think US journalism was revitalised after 8 years of ignoring legitimate news stories to focus on sensational! celebrity! exposes! but no – it’s just more of the latter.

I shouldn’t really single out the US media; Watching our local CBC news yesterday, I was struck by how many of the “news” pieces were either wire stories – repeated practically verbatim on the other networks – or two-minute teasers for CBC “investigative” programs broadcasting later that evening. For all that, though, our networks actually covered many of the reports that the mainstream American media forewent in favour of more Lindsay and Britney reportage. Perez Hilton is the new Woodward & Bernstein.

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