Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Takin' a Snooze

Sorry everyone. For the past, I don't know, two weeks or so, I've been on hiatus. My explanation for the break is simple. I just haven't had much to talk about.

Funny coincidence. The media at large hasn't had much to say over the last two weeks, either.

Because two weeks ago, Michael Jackson died. And since then, any responsible decider in the American media has been on vacation, allowing the tabloid rats in the ranks to let the MJ story take full reign and precedence over such trivial matters as civil unrest in Iran and North Korean missile tests.

Some may be surprised how quickly the major media outlets rolled over their serious reportage for all MJ, all the time coverage. I, however, saw it all coming from the moment I heard about his death on the 25th. Felt it like a hurricane on the horizon. Because the big news (Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea, the economy) has nothing on the biggest of news (MJ, 9/11).

Yes, I compared the coverage of MJ's death to 9/11. And I'll tell you why.

Simply, it's because of the all-encompassing nature of a story like MJ's death... or 9/11 - and the pervasive, grossly subjective reportage that followed it. It's everywhere, everyday. And, like 9/11, any story on MJ is fair game... even if that tale is rather tall.

Paging Dr. Sanjay Gupta! What's the word on MJ's toxicology results? We need an ambiguous report on that unreleased bit of information, STAT!

Katie Couric! Come out from behind that desk! We need you to report on some real news! Get over to Debbie Rowe and see if she'll fight for custody of the kids! And hitch up your skirt, damnit! Show a little thigh!

Geraldo Rivera! Get in front of a camera and start positing wild conspiracy theories! Who killed Michael Jackson? Who benefits most by having Michael dead?

The media! That's who!

MJ's death and 9/11 have a lot in common. Both surprised and shocked the world. Both proved a boon for conspiracy theorists. Both had widely televised memorial services. Both stories ruled supreme over the media for some time.

And both exhibited the triumph of subjectivity over objectivity.

But only 9/11 was a real, relevant story that demanded objectivity and, unfortunately, didn't get much of it. And only 9/11 will continue to affect the people of this nation, and the world, for years to come.

The case of MJ, sad and tragic to some, highly annoying to others, isn't relevant to the majority of us. It doesn't affect how we live our lives or will live in the future. All MJ's death has done is allow the media to throw objectivity aside and let the bloggers take over.

Which is fine as far as MJ stories go. But not kosher for a supposedly objective entity like the media.

Oh well. I guess in a world as screwed up as ours, even the media needs to take a snooze. Better on MJ than 9/11.

(For further reading, check out my commentary on the Jackson verdict from 2005.)

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