News media spends ‘bloody fortune’ on Michael Jackson coverage…

July 7, 2009

I thought the tickets to the Michael Jackson Memorial, awarded by lottery, were sold out (so to speak). But now I hear on FOX News that they are being handed out at the door as the funeral ceremonies begin at the Staples Center in LA.

I seldom check out FOX News, but I wanted to see how they were covering this event, said to be the largest of its kind in history. The major television news media has been covering this whole Michael Jackson death thing wall to wall as if it is far more important than, say, our war in Afghanistan. I watch the nightly network news and on one occasion CBS devoted its entire nightly cast to the death of Michael Jackson. I think it was last night that as I switched between CBS and ABC I heard much about Jackson and little about Afghanistan.

I don’t know what the FOX News folks think about Jackson, but it would seem that what with their constant right wing reactionary slant to the news that they would question all the hoopla (of which they are ironically part) about the death of a bizzarre entertainer with reportedly questionable moral values.¬†One of the reporters questioned whether the media had blown the thing out of proportion (yes and no I think) and Gretta Van Sustern seemed to have an edge to her voice, noting the media has “spent a bloody fortune” on all of this.

Personally I think that on the one hand, it is a story. There can be no doubt that Jackson has a tremendous fan base and people all over the world were drawn to him and are affected by his demise. But I am surprised and disappointed that bonafied news outlets have gone way overboard on all of this simply because they have been forced to by ratings which bring adertising dollars.

Once upon a time, before cable, the three major networks covered the news and lost money doing it. They did it out of their desire for prestige and some sense of public responsibility.

The wall to wall Michael Jackson coverage in my mind would better be left to the entertainment news outlets. The real news outlets should concetrate on real news, with some breaks to the Jackson story, because it is news in that he had millions of fans and the story of his weird life and the questionable circumstances of his death is compelling — but should it overshadow news of war, international relations, fighting the economic disaster, struggling for better health care?

And why can the public, people all over the world, seemingly galvanize around someone whose main claim to fame is grabbing his crotch while he danced and sang but otherwise can’t get along with one another?