Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Why TV News Disgust Me Sometimes

So...Anyone see anything new from Iran lately? No? Oh, that's right, Michael Jackson died. Jackson's death is tragic for his family and I'm sure he was an important cultural icon. But his death and all the controversy surrounding his life and death is nothing compared to the ongoing turmoil in Iran.

The American TV media in particular has a self indulgent tendency to make celebrities the story whenever they can. Remember last year at the height of the 2008 floods, the 24 hour news channels virtually ended coverage of the worst natural disaster to hit this country since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans to do a 3 day weekend of eulogies for Tim Russert. Now, there is a spontaneous uprising in the works in Iran with hundred dead in the streets and CNN et al drop all that to do wall to wall coverage of Michael Jackson.

Can't say I'm surprised. But I'm disgusted.


Dr. Strangelove said...

This is exactly why I get my news online and don't bother to watch any televised broadcasts anymore.

Anonymous said...

I agree and disagree with you is an interesting debate. I did see a good deal of coverage on Iran on MSNBC this morning on TV and on their good news source, I feel, that is not linked on your site and I think that is is the top ranked cable news channel currently. The news of Michael Jackson froze the getting your news on-line only might be a contradiction, obviously, it was all over the web as well. I guess if I were a TV executive, I would have to put a priority on Jackson...he was admired by billions of people and when billions of people are interested and want to know, you give it blanket coverage...and the public is over enamored with celebrity, I do agree with that part of your point. There aren't many Elvis', Beatles, Michael Jacksons', Martin Luther Kings'...etc. that occur in a lifetime...people who have huge global impact, they will always get this kind of priority, it does not disgust me. The Iranian issue is of critical importance and it does effect us all I think, in some way and it should remain a priority in the news cycle and tonight, I am sure it will be covered at length by Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, amongst others...I hope.


Raised By Republicans said...

I understand the profit motives. Most people are star crazed morons who would rather watch a 12 discussion of Michael Jackson's cause of death than see that interrupted with something as trivial as the slow democratization of the Middle East.

I have to admit that I have not examined all the 24 hour news cycles from dawn to dusk. But in my breaks I've checked in on MSNBC and CNN and every time I've done so they've both been talking about Jackson, his autopsy, his toxicology report, whether he was taking pain killers, whether he has been in poor health etc etc etc.

To me, this is Tim Russert's death all over again. The pretty faces and empty heads that dominate TV news are more comfortable reporting on other celebrities than they are reporting on something of actual substance.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if I would equate it with Tim Russert...sounds more like Anna Nicole Smith's death. It is tiring to hear about it every minute....but I am not sure the people reporting it are all empty heads or that they enjoy it. Rachel Maddow is a Rhodes Scholar, Keith Olbermann began college at Cornell at the age of 16, graduating at 20, Chris Matthews holds a graduate degree in econ from North Carolina and was with the Peace Corp for 2 years in Swaziland, Wolf Blitzer holds an MA from Johns Hopkins in international I don't think these folks are empty heads.

I didn't understand all of the Tim Russert attention, I wasn't a big Meet the PRess watcher...but he never impressed me when he moderated presidential candidate debates, etc...he seemed pretty light weight on those occasions. There are a lot of strange circumstances surrounding Jackson's death...the missing doctor, no heart condition to report, no external trauma...but a reported addiction to pain killers...seems there is always some doctor involved in these things, Elvis, Smith, etc. If it were a plain and simple, heart attack, just a natural cause, there may not be so much attention...

In as much as I agree with your generic statement about the media and its' strange addictions, I think your reaction is emotionally charged. I had a very emotional response to The Economist when it changed editors and management in the early to mid 1990's. It seemed to veer hard right after the change, did not seem objective at all and after that and I stopped reading it. I know it was required reading on the hill, don't know if it still is...and it was always funny to me, that there are no can one really trust that? I have not read it again to this day, maybe to my detriment...but they lost me...I guess for good. WW

The Law Talking Guy said...

The Economist was always right-leaning, but I find it often on the left side of many issues today. I suspect this is more a function of the shift in the American polity to the right than the Economist, but who knows? It may also be the increasing awareness that much of their subscription revenue stream comes from the segment of America that still reads.

Raised By Republicans said...

The Economist is solidly in the Classical Liberal camp. They favor minimal government involvement in both economic and personal/cultural affairs. In the US the Republicans favor half of that combination and the Democrats favor the other half.

WW, you are perhaps correct that I'm a little emotional about celebrities covering celebrities. I saw a lot of destruction and misery last summer (I live in a small town in Iowa) and saw it completely ignored in favor of 24 hour eulogies of Tim Russert. Seeing the media drop Iran coverage for days because the "King of Pop" died brings up a lot of the same anger.

Raised By Republicans said...

By the way, I've been watching/listening to CNN and MSNBC for the last hour and a half and there has been NO deviation from the Michael Jackson obsession (I don't count weather). Disgusting!

The man was an important pop singer. That's worth an hour long special or two. It's NOT more important than everything else.

I was particular annoyed when the TV dude on CNN was talking to an "I-reporter" about Jackson. The CNN guy actually cut off the "I-reporter" saying "I'm sorry to cut you off but we have a lot of news to get to." He then went straight into another report about Michael Jackson.

You know they've completely stuffed their heads up their rectums when they start interviewing Jesse Jackson about Michael Jackson. Jesse Jackson was trying to push the idea that there was some foul play involved.

Anonymous said...

RBR...I was watching as well and it was overdone. Olbermann however, did a show covering many other news items but Maddow's show was replaced with a documentary about Jackson. Interviewing Jesse Jackson is ridiculous...I don't have any interest in what that man has to say about anything. They do milk it a lot and try to create stuff that isn't even close to the truth. To me, there really is no mystery about what happened. He was another guy who thought, hey I'm Michael Jackson, even chemicals can't kill me...but the chemicals always win and the chemicals decide when you die, no matter how much money and fame you have, you can never beat chemicals. No one has said this on the air yet, but it really is all that happened and that is the only story...and it is not hard to figure it out...demerol and oxi-cotton, that is a very serious cocktail!

I completely understand your personal experience overlay to the situation. And the big truth that all of this brings up, is the final outcome of the aggressive deregulation program that began in 1982 by Reagan and the FCC. The media has distilled it's content down for the lowest common denominator. I am sure there are many stories like the one you mentioned in Iowa, that are not covered...and I agree, I do not think that is right. The type of news coverage I find disgusting is high speed chase scenes....they will show them for is infuriating. Okay, I digress...the media needs to be broken up, we need to have forced divestitures of the assets...then there will be real competition for news scoops again and we will get some truth more consistently.

It is interesting that RBR and LTG have different perspectives on the Economist, if I understood the respective opinions correctly. The cover graphic on an issue after the Clinton / Lewinski story broke, was another baffling approach to the story for me. They had a wild west sheriff looking for Clinton to hang was very angry and inappropriate for a 'newspaper' of that stature. WW

The Law Talking Guy said...

I don't think RBR and I disagree as to the content of The Economist. I think we differ on how to characterize it. For RBR, "classical liberal" is not synonymous with "right-leaning." On the other hand, I perceive it as a rightist philosophy. This shows mostly that I am to the left of RBR on many economic issues. =)

Socially, RBR and I agree on an awful lot but have pointed differences, many about the proper role of religion.

As for the Economist graphics, I think they are almost always awesome. What WW calls "angry and inappropriate," I think of as clever and provocative. Then again, I am a bit infamous for enjoying black humor. I enjoyed the New Yorker's cover with the Obamas as terrorists. But I totally see why this infuriated others, too.