Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Vacuity of TV News People

Just in case this wasn't clear enough already, the news coverage of the death of Michael Jackson has, once again, exposed TV news people for what they truly are: a group of wealthy, out of touch, vacuous people who think that Americans ought to share their obsession with tabloid news.

For the past week and a half, the American people have been relentlessly subjected to the Michael Jackson death story. Don't get me wrong. Unlike New York Representative Peter King, I believe Michael Jackson to be a victim, whose death is the ultimate corollary to a somewhat tragic existence (more on that in some possible future blog).

TV news organizations generally justify their obsession with tabloid news by saying that they just cover what the people are interested in. But in a late June poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, 64 percent of respondents said news organizations provided too much coverage of Michael Jackson's death. And what was the reaction of TV news media to this unequivocal verdict? More Michael Jackson coverage.

What this goes to show is that the "people" that TV news people refer to is really not the people at large but, rather, themselves. They are the ones who are obsessed with the death of Michael Jackson and everything glamorous. I, for one, would like to hear news about what's going on in Iran, the coup in Honduras, the health care debate, and, why not, some Michael Jackson too. And talking about Iran, it was pretty astonishing to see how the news media switched from total Iran coverage to total Michael Jackson coverage without even blinking.

The problem, in my opinion, is that many TV news anchors are just plain idiots. They work in a business where their looks are paramount while intelligence is secondary. Actually, intelligence and critical thinking is discouraged as one is supposed to parrot the corporate line without questioning it. So, what seems to be happening in the corporate TV news media is that, as people get hired because of their looks and regardless of their wits, the line between TV anchors and supermodels is becoming more and more blurred.

And what happens when you put a quasi supermodel in charge of a TV news show? You got it, 24-hour Michael Jackson coverage.

(image source)

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