What a news week. It began with what seemed like it might be an outright insurrection of a cross section of Iranian society, to include large numbers of women, against an oppressive Islamic religious-controlled government and the sham re-election of a nut case as president, and then there was the news that all-time sidekick/ yes man and pitch man Ed McMahon died, then the news of yet another political philanderer who, to make things a little more interesting, went to Argentina to break up with his mistress and cry his eyes out, then the death of actress and poster girl and cancer sufferer and crusader Farrah Fawcett and finally the story that blew everything else out of the water – MICHAEL JACKSON DIES!!! or as one newspaper headline put it: THE THRILLER IS GONE.
I think the Jackson death story rivals the death of President Kennedy in coverage. I don’t recall for sure, but even though there are many similarities, I think the coverage far surpasses that of the death of Elvis Presley in 1977 of a drug overdose (the computerized media today is omnipresent). There are suspicions that Jackson may have overdosed, as well (no decision on that from the coroner at this time). Presley was the King of Rock n Roll and Jackson the King of Pop.
Today (Saturday), although there is no official cause of Jackson’s death stated, it is being widely reported that it was due to a heart attack (and I suppose that could have been brought on by drug use).
I recognize that Jackson was a major entertainer, but he played no major role in my own life. He was a super talent, he was eccentric, and controversial, and most important of all he can’t be ignored in death simply because all of the money he made over his lifetime (and spent) and I guess more important than that his fan base, which accounted for all that money. The news outlets, particularly the cable and internet, can’t seem to get off the subject. They need the ratings and the hits to attract advertisers. As I blogged previously, he’s still a commodity after death.
ADD 3 (add 2 is farther down):
While the TV and the rest of the web, including the LA Times site, was reporting that Jackson was being treated at the hospital, for at least an hour the TMZ site, owned by Time Warner, was reporting him dead. They were correct. When I took journalism I was taught that it is more important to be correct than first, but of course being both is the best of both worlds. Oh, TMZ pays for tips and photos, although it is not known whether they paid in this case (what do you think?). Anyway, like I said, Jackson is a commodity even in death.
TO MORE LONG-LASTING AND momentous news, it seems the resistance in Iran may have begun to fizzle somewhat with the heavy crack down by authorities there – but at the same time, reports indicate it continues on some level and has caused a split in the government and ruling religious community itself.
And I see others have noted that the Jackson news has diverted attention away from the freedom movement in Iran (possibly to its detriment) and away from the adulterous Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina (somewhat to his benefit).
But I think the pressure by U.S. neocons (or right wing) to take advantage of the rift in Iran or at the extreme instigate some kind of all-out (armed) revolt is wrongheaded and meant more to discredit President Obama. Obama is still trying to keep cool and not fall for being a foil, as he says, to Iran’s America-hating government, who is already trying to make it look like the U.S. is instigating dissent. Obama does seem to have taken a stronger position in the past few days against the Iranian government’s excess in putting down dissent and to be keeping his options (other than outright interference) open.
From what I am reading about Iran (some of it from Iranians), although many there may want increased freedoms, they still believe in having an Islamic Republic and don’t see that as incompatible with their idea of democracy.
But with the violence inflicted upon peaceful demonstrators that we have seen and heard of and the news that a major cleric wants to prosecute what he calls “rioters” (but really is referring to peaceful dissenters) with harsh punishment, I would hate to see the U.S. president give that government legitimacy by agreeing to talk to it. It has already rebuffed his offers so far anyway. Obama was right in going over Iranian president Mamoud Ahmadinejad’s head and appealing to the ruling Ayatollah, for the president of Iran is but a figure head as far as foreign policy, I understand, and besides he is not rational. But I no longer, if I ever did, see that the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is either. But even if he is, I no longer think he deserves the respect of anyone, least of all the president of the United States.
I have read that even if the Iranian opposition were to win out, there is not necessarily any improved chances the nation would abandon its quest for nuclear weapons.
The U.S. would do well to play this close to the vest and let things play out. In the end the U.S. will have to do what it must to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons.
The network news comes on and seems to be devoting the entire cast to Michael Jackson. Who cares about Iran? They know what’s important.
Even my local TV news is going to Michael Jackson — enough is enough!