The straw sending the camel for an MRI? Michael Jackson's death as the lead story multiple nights in a row while barely reporting the Iranian, Korean and Afghanistan crises. Jackson, twenty minutes, national and world news, five. Not a great score in my book for the millions whose only source of "news" is NBC.
The producers should at least fake one last impulse of honesty and rename the show, "Nightly Entertainment News." Heck, we had barely recovered from Farrah's maudlin coverage and hadn't yet had time to mourn for Billie Mays' death when we were hit with the "tragedy" of yet another probable drug-related demise of a freakoid celebrity.
Oh the pain of it all.
Jackson as great entertainer? Undoubtedly.
Jackson exerting massive impact on America's pop culture? Regrettably, yes.
Talented person with demented childhood and questionable lifestyle? Oh yeah.
Meaningful contribution to American life? Yes, according to those incoherent interviews with the mush-mouthed grieving fans... but certainly not in any serious way for the rest of us.
NBC wasn't the only network to give MJ's death priority by any means. Daytime, afternoon, evening "specials" beat it, beat it, beat it to (pardon me) death, while leaving the real issues of the day unreported -- or barely mentioned.
I've written about the mystique of celebrity many times in this blog and I've certainly bashed the mainstream media about its relentless coverage of celebrities' pathetic antics and morally-bereft lives. I'm sure if news directors were confronted with an angry mob demanding REAL NEWS, they'd haul out the old saw they give as their eternal excuse...the public demands such coverage. (See HERE for a longer rant on this tactic.)
Speaking as one small slice of American pie, I demand objective, clear reporting on important issues that will affect my life and the lives and future of my family -- maybe coverage of our slippage into Big Gov controlling EVERYTHING as we descend into true socialism? Maybe exposure of the thug-like machinations of our new Chicago/Washington administration? Maybe the trillions of present and long-term (eternal) debt we're accruing in the name of hopey and changey? Maybe the lack of any non-Rush opposition voices? We don't hear those voices because the media doesn't do their job -- we may get a 20-second sound bite from one conservative or another, but those comments are always bracketed by the reporter's snide setup and pithy, pro-Obama close. Don't believe me? Pay attention with critical eye and ear the next time.
Just as a quick example, how much detailed analysis have you seen or read about the massive health care overhaul? A word here and there from predictable sources... but nothing to equal the impact this plan will have on all our lives. (Well, all our lives unless you're a member of Congress, which will be excluded.) Where is the debate? Where are the fire-eating journalists eager to bring both sides of an issue to our attention? Or am I being incredibly naive -- am I expecting Spencer Tracy and getting
When FDR swept into office during the Great Depression and began his alphabet soup of agencies he hoped would effect real and needed change, there was PLENTY of opposition to his actions -- and you bet your sweet ass it was reported. His bid for the Presidency was vigorously opposed during his first campaign and his administration closely scrutinized from the start -- with his many critics' voluble comments both printed and broadcast. After his attempt to stack the Supreme Court failed, he was pilloried in the press. Ah, the good old days when reporters at least pretended to objectivity and pretended to work.
Just imagine that scenario today going unmentioned, unreported, unnoticed by the media who are in the tank for, in bed with, and up the O'Butt of O'Bama.
As an aside and as confession, I finally got off the ideological fence and registered Republican last week. My dear Democratic father is no doubt spinning in his grave -- but he isn't here to watch this sickening debacle. Sorry, Daddy.