I cannot tolerate television news. A few minutes viewing makes me sputter “that’s not newsworthy!” at the screen, after which Judy kicks me out of the room. My students roll their eyes at these rants; this is the only television news they have known. The latest twist in the “balloon boy” story is the allegation that media outlets were in on the hoax. No details yet, but it is easy to believe. Any nitwit who pursues public attention diligently enough will receive it from media enablers. In 1974 in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. the U.S. Supreme Court presciently classified as public figures for purposes of defamation law people who are in the public eye “by reason of the notoriety of their achievements or the vigor and success with which they seek the public’s attention.” The Court could not have anticipated in 1974 the extent to which notoriety and celebrity, divorced of talent, merit, or accomplishment, would become ends in themselves. After “discovering” that his son might have climbed aboard the drifting balloon the father’s first call was not to 911, but a television station. Where do these people come from?