Friday, July 03, 2009

united states of entertainment

Initially I wanted to write a tribute to my fallen comrade Michael Jackson. However, I cannot at this time albeit I have written such a tribute. Instead I would like to question the voracity of us as a people and the outlets that in theory are supposed to provide honest, terse and complete information regarding what events are occurring around the world – the media, specifically the news media.

As a child I was brought up under the premise that news was designed to keep us informed of important and significant events around the globe. However it appears that currently, news has become a synonym for entertainment and ratings. Case in point is the death of the aforementioned superstar. It has been one week since the pop legend past. However, more than 60 percent of all news coverage after his death up until last night has focused Mr. Jackson. Even more disturbing is the observation that of all cable coverage in addition to news coverage accounted for 93 percent of what was presented on television was on Michael.

Although his death was tragic, my concern is that I wonder what impact he had on all our lives that was tangible. Sure we know all his video dances and the lyrics to his songs and loved him as the greatest entertainer of our era, but is it really that important. Why is it that in the times when our economy is in shambles (in fact 6 banks closed in Illinois yesterday), and the historical importance of the events in Iran in concert with the massive 4000 man front we started in Afghanistan two days ago, is not followed or a concern as the death of a celebrity?

I have tried to search high and low about reports concerning new events in Iran and the troop deployment down the Helmand River valley in Taliban strong holds. But Very little, nada can be found. It is even difficult to find reports on the military build up and likely conflict with North Korea. T seems like we are hypnotized and control by the media. I guess it is true what they say – out of sight, out of mind. I hope that we really value the importance of being accourant and staying a breasted of all events around the world instead of being side tracked by fame, fortune and celebrity. If we are not, well it is a real frightening proposition for me. I guess they also call it the Boob tube for a reason for I guess only boobs watch it. I have said many times prior that in these United States of America, Freedom and ignorance is incompatible. Maybe we should just change the name out right to the United States of Entertainment.


macon d said...

I think it's true that a lot of us are hypnotized and controlled by the media, but I think a more accurate term there is "the corporate media." A lot of other media outlets do track the much more serious concerns that you'd like to hear more about. The best I've found is Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now." You can watch it at online, or listen on a lot of radio stations; I listen to the daily podcast while walking or doing other stuff. Free Speech Radio News is good too.

But yeah, while those and many other sources are great, I don't know how much they can really do to counteract the swirling blur and glut that engulfs our culture, and for many, IS our culture.

SjP said...

"The News" took a turn, imo, after the Watergate story was broken by Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. Since then every newscaster, reporter, and anchor has been searching for their big story - movie moment. As a result, the news is often shallow with more spin than a top.

But, I hear you T on this. I mean the stock market fell 300 points yesterday and all we're hearing about is whether or not Rowe will be able to get custody of her kid's trust.

Soulpower said...

Dead on. We have a responsibility to search for the truth ourselves. If we can't find it on tv then we have to keep it moving. The world did take a collective gasp when MJ died, in fact some are still reeling but the truth is, the world kept turning after he breathed his last breath. As the world moves so must we. It ain't always easy but it is always necessary to see opportunities to be informed, and to be informed with the truth, not garbage.

Curious said...

I heard Walter Cronkite was gravely ill and so is your concept of the news if you expect to see the type of reports that he and Edward R. Murrow used to do back in the day.

Nowadays news is all about sales and paying the bills. What sells is the Access Hollywood, TMZ stuff as opposed to news that will really affect you. If the networks can't sell what they have it then they don't get paid and ultimately that is why they are in business. If you want to blame anyone, don't blame the MSM, blame me and my neighbors and fellow citizens for wanting and watching that crap.

As for the Bernstein Woodward Watergate thing, that's an interesting idea but I don't think need to become a celebrity journalist has anything to do with the type of news subject we become interested in as SjP stated. I'm sure people would want to know about MJ regardless where it came from.

Aly Cat 121 said...

It ain't called teLIEvision for nothing. It's a drug worse than crack or meth, seriously. I've fallen prey to it myself. I thank my hubby for keep me grounded and our girls.

Folks don't want to know what's really going on cuz most can't take the pressure.

msladyDeborah said...


I have to totally agree with you on this one. I have turned off my television for the weekend.

I don't need to know all the details about MJs demise. Apparently the MSM feels that we need to overdose on his life story.

Kellybelle said...

Say it! They are looking under rocks fo rpeople who stood next to someone who used to know Michael. SMH

Mac Daddy Tribute Blog said...

I'm not only overloaded with news about Michael Jackson, the Jackson family, his so-called, and his various enablers. I'm also overloaded about news about celebrities and sports events as opposed to news. That's why, lately I've been listening more to public channel and BBC. That's it: Even CNN has turned into straight-up news about entertainers. Blessings, my brotha.

nicki nicki tembo said...

Nothing can compare to the depths of delusion, distortion and deception emitted from the television. Thinking people will recognize it for what it really is, an appeal to the baseness that lies within each of us, mentally calling us to misaligned priorities.

Lo_lah said...

To top it off for me, I have tried to avoid being inundated with all of the speculation and fiction that is being perpetuated my the media by not watching...only to have my highly intelligent co-workers make it their business to tell me everything that I missed about MJ. These are the same people that want to debate so ferociously their one sided Fox news based political opinions. I wish we could all get a clue.

Christopher said...

The "O"-Man is in Moscow today meeting with President Medvedev and we have CNN on in the break room.

They cover it but the second the men stop talking and shake hands, not a word of analysis from the anchor only a quick cut to more 24/7 coverage of Michael Jackson:

his will
his meds
his kids
his memorial
how many tickets were made available
how many plastic surgeries did he have

CNN went straight to TMZ-land and the irony is, TMZ does this kind of shit better.

CNN is an embarrassment. A shell of their former self and I just wish Ted Turner would buy the damned network back and fire all those overpaid chumps and bring the old guard back in.

Americans aren't by nature dumb but the networks and especially cable networks, seem to think they need to dumb-it-down to the lowest common denominator.

James said...

just as you said, i think that ratings is one of the prime motivations for the (news) media... instead of providing us with info that matters and more timely, they'd air sensational stories just to get the largest portion of that viewership pie...

Tyhitia Green said...

LOL. I have to agree, Torrance. I haven't been watching the hoopla, even though I loved Mike.

This was addressed on THE VIEW this morning.

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