I made the mistake of turning on my television this afternoon, to find the news networks had pre-empted regularly scheduled programming to bring us a "breaking news" story.
Michael Jackson was found Not Guilty on all charges.
We saw a stiff-limbed Jackson being escorted to his limo, the limo driving away amid throngs of screaming fans, and regular aerial shots of the limo as it drove to the Neverland ranch — interspersed with a gaggle of talking head "experts" commenting on everything and anything even remotely connected to this overblown trial.
Ad infinitum ad nauseam, for twenty to thirty minutes depending on which channel you were watching.
Back in my day, the networks mostly interrupted regular programming when a particularly life-altering event occurred. Like a president being shot or commercial airliners being flown into buildings by terrorists.
So Michael Jackson has been found not guilty.
Well whoop-de-freakin-do. Can I go back to my own "regularly scheduled" not giving a shit about the fate of a washed-up pop star?
On the other hand, the news media is quite guilty...
Of pandering to the lowest common denominator.
Of further blurring the line between hard news and entertainment.
Of the dumbing down of America.
No wonder more and more Americans are getting their news from The Daily Show, if they watch TV news at all.
And why more people, myself included, surf the Internet to find out what's happening in the world around us.