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Jackson Not Guilty, but News Media Sure Is

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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.

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About Pete Petrisko

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    I bet this ends up on the Daily Show :-)

    i have been eqully disgusted by, primarily cable news’ obsession. They’ve got garbage time to fill in a 24.7 news cycle so they fill it wit garbage.

    I read an article recently about CNNi (international) and how completely different it is. How news segments would spend large blocks of time on … drum roll please … one single subject of the news, say in the Sudan.

    I know when I moved back here from England I was amazed and disappointed by the lack of real hard world news.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Great post — can not agree more.

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Amen, Temple. America’s news industry is a business not a public service. It is governed by advertiser dollars and ratings which makes all newscasts by American networks suspect.

    Pete is so on the money about Americans getting their news from the Daily Show. It may be satire but to a point it is the most honest journalism offered by an American network. This Jackson circus has been a publicity campaign from day one. And now they will go on a World Tour and MJ will recoup much of his lost fortune.

    The real losers in this mess are the taxpayers of California and those boys who were dragged into the foray. These kids are scarred for life. Perhaps MJ scarred them. Somehow, though, there has to be an accountability of the parents for they are ultimately responsible for the care and welfare of their children. If Jackson did, in fact, try to have sexual relations with these boys, then the parents should also be punished for allowing it to happen. They willingly left their boys in MJ’s bedroom. They are responsible.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    I realy have not followed the case enough to know how shocking this is.

    From my surface perception this particular family seemed like money-grubibng opportunists. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Michael Jackson isn’t a sicko. I don’t know.

  • http://cranialcavity.net/wordpress/index.php Marc

    Temple Stark: “I read an article recently about CNNi (international)”

    As one who lives in the Philippines I have access to CNNi and generally they have better coverage. BUT they also had the same breaking news and fawned over the now “innocent” Jackson for over an hour.

  • http://warmonger.mu.nu Jeremy

    Umm..isn’t writing an article like this with the full knowledge that the name Michael Jackson on it will grab attention sort of pandering as well?

    …It’s alright. Just making a joke. I did an MJ post as well. I think we ALL did.

    Like it or don’t MJ is more real news than Jessica Lundsford or Terri Schiavo or Natalee Holloway or [pick another one]

    Meanwhile there’s a perfectly good story abut how the U.N. is dragging its feet on Darfur that gets left on the curring room floor. I completely get the point.

  • http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/ Barreket

    While on the topic of Jackson and the media, check out this to see how more than 400 newspaper front pages from around the nation and beyond reacted to the much awaited verdict.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Bravo, Mr. Petrisko. I also distrust muc of the US media and what they have done and are doing to the craft of journalism. Among my multitudes of go-to sites for trustworthy international news is BBC.co.uk, which usually does a great job on stories that don’t get much coverage on this side of the pond (even if it, sadly, licks too much US ass at times), but wow, even the BBC spent loads of effort on the MJ trial story. Bring on the real news!