Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rhinestone Curtains

What to make of the nearly two-week media extravaganza since Michael Jackson's death on June 26? I'm looking for balance relative to other global events, proportion relative to their gravity, fidelity to the American public, and seemliness--quaint concept, I know--with respect to death, grief, sorrow, and loss.

I'm not finding them.

I don't begrudge the late entertainer the attention he's getting. What I resent is the blanket it has thrown over every other issue on the planet. The near 24/7 fixation on nuances of nuances to do with his childhood, family, career, mentors, tormentors, oddities, brilliance, influence, drug use, and death is just one of many instances in which CNN and MSNBC especially have abandoned the interests of the country in favor of making a quick and easy buck.

Unless you're of a certain age, you might not remember how it was back when there was news on TV and American media supported the quaint notion that a democracy depends on an informed public. But I do.

There's stuff going on out there. I want to hear about it without having to dig up the Jerusalem Post or the London Times. I want to know what Congress is up to, how the healthcare issue is coming along, what's doing on global warming, whether N. Korea is as dangerous as it seems, who's behind the attack on 35 federal websites, what's going on in post-Katrina New Orleans, what Obama is going to do about immigration, and whether the stimulus is expected to work or isn't. For starters. I don't want or need to know whether Catherine has control of Michael's estate, or that 7 was Michael's lucky number. Give me a break.

I want the information that I need in order to be an informed citizen and a competent voter. I want a diet that's 60% brain food, not 95% National Enquirer.

But I don't know how to get it. Do you?


Jan Pearson said...

I don't know where to find out what's going on but I'd like to know too. It is indeed a crazy mixed up world out there. I blame the shift to sensationalism news reporting (and they all do it, even the little local stations), on Ted Turner and his cnn 24/7. They had to fill that time someway, and if there's not much news to report, you start sensationalizing different items to grab the public. Maury Povich had a hand in that too, with a weeknight show on ordinary folks, and who they loved, murdered, robbed, etc. Pretty soon local networks had joined in with what they saw as "drawing power". Now that is about all you get on Dateline and some of those shows. Glad 60 Minutes still has "news" shows.

Thanks for your thoughts, and thanks for listening to mine. Jan