Politico is holding an interesting round-table discussion on why the media can't seem to stop itself from dwelling on non-issues -- like the recent faux controversy over Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment -- instead of things that matter, like war or the collapsing economy.

A corporate ratings-driven media, the gossipy "gotcha" quality of YouTube and online outlets, and other culprits all come under attack (and even a few -- albeit very few -- defend the media).

But one of the most illuminating responses comes from Bill Bishop, an author and editor at The Daily Yonder, who offers some regional context for the pig lipstick distraction:

Obama made his pig comment in Lebanon, in far southwestern Virginia. A year ago, Purdue Pharma paid a $650 million fine to settle a suit brought by the U.S. Attorney in that district. Purdue had targeted that region to market its painkiller OxyContin and the company had been misleading in how it had marketed the drug, according to the feds. (Rudy Giuliani was one of the company's attorneys.) It's hard to talk to anybody in the coal region of Virginia or nearby Kentucky who doesn't have a relative who has been addicted to Oxy.

Just a few months ago, Harvard researchers found that longevity had declined in 1,000 U.S. counties. For the first time in a century, Americans are living shorter lives - and the largest declines are in southwest Virginia.

There are lots of things to write about, and it is all a choice.