So it is not just me. In fact, it seems that the vast majority of the population thinks this type of “news” is a joke. Yet it goes on and on. That was eight years ago, and if anything, the situation has gotten worse. The other day I opened up my Yahoo account, and the lead “story” was Kim Kardashian’s Halloween costume. Good Lord, who the hell cares!
“Where is the news value of watching the same shot of a celebrity walking in and out of a courthouse day after day?” is a pretty relevant quote that comes in the last five minutes of the film. The documentary answers by pointing to the hungry beast, the 24-hour a day news channels that need constant feeding.
I remember in the days after 9/11, phrases such as “the world has changed forever,” and “this is the end of irony” being bandied about. I knew it was hogwash then, and within weeks was proven right. The lament that America is being “dumbed down” is heard constantly from pundits. Do you think that kindergarten journalism about (plug in today’s famous idiot here) might be a contributing factor?
There is another quote in the movie which I found revealing. A reporter confides “We used to be told to write our copy at an eighth grade level. Recently (2004), we were told to adjust to a seventh-grade level. Eight years have passed since then, I wonder if we are being spoon-fed stories at a fifth-grade level. My earlier “kindergarten journalism” statement was meant sarcastically, but give them a few years, and we just may get there.
The trials and tribulations of Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods, Mel Gibson and others are just about the only news we get anymore, besides box-office receipts. You literally cannot get away from it without completely unplugging. Bryant’s trial was just another (basically now forgotten) chapter. It seems as if those in the news feel it is beyond their pay-grade to report a story that might actually have some value in the real world.
My difficulty with Celebrity Trials is that I had hoped for a bit more depth, and historical perspective rather than a behind the scenes look at Bryant‘s trial. We all know that the networks, or so-called news-magazines such as Time will never go near the topic of the sorry state of journalism as it stands today. At the very least, this film brings up the subject for wider consideration.