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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Whom do we blame for the Michael Jackson overload?

It always becomes a national pastime when the news networks go overboard in covering a major celebrity happening… at the moment, of course, the seemingly nonstop coverage of the death of Michael Jackson: We start complaining about how the news networks are going overboard. If it appeared to slow down a little over the long holiday weekend, well, it’ll pick up again tomorrow, when Jackson’s public memorial will be televised around the planet.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times today:

Sixty-three percent of Americans say the musician’s death is getting too much media coverage, according to a survey released Thursday by HCD Research.

So surely all those people have turned off their TVs and gone out for a walk or something, right?

On the other hand, 80% in the same poll said they were engaged by Jackson stories when they saw them.

So is it, then, “elitist” — as CNN anchor Don Lemon characterizes critics of the Jackson coverage — to complain that the TV ain’t shuttin’ up about Michael Jackson? After all, if almost everyone says they’re enjoying the coverage, perhaps it’s only an illusion that everyone seems to be complaining about the coverage, too.

Is it fair to blame the news networks for their nonstop coverage of Michael Jackson’s death and legacy, if audiences are responding positively to it? Should we blame, you know, ourselves instead?

Whom do we blame for the Michael Jackson overload?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)



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  • Doesn’t matter if it’s cocaine or celebrity coverage: if there’s a demand, someone’s going to supply it. My recommendation would be to regulate it (designate fixed hours & locations for paparazzi to stalk celebrities?), tax it, and use the money to fund treatment centers for celebrity gossip addicts.

  • doa766

    news networks have 24 hours to fill, what are they going to talk about if not this?

    if instead they cover the elections on Iran then people will change the channel to another network showing a piece about the future of Bubbles

  • Blame it on the boogie.

  • tomservo

    I was reading comments on the towering example of intellect that is Fox nation and came to the conclusion that it is Obama’s fault.

  • Marshall Myers

    It just shows the screwed up priorities we have in our culture today. I celebrate MJ for his art, creativity, and music – and I was certainly saddened at his loss, but life goes on. I immeadiatly moved on and went back to life. I actually don’t watch much news (I prefer independent news sources than major network sources), but everytime I did catch it in the background I rolled my eyes – they are STILL covering MJ’s death?

    Honestly, it goes back to priorities. The US has had messed up priorities for a long time, and when we lose ourselves in celebrity this and that while the world goes to hell in a hand basket or corporations slowly take control of our government, yes we absolutly have no one to blame but ourselves. You can’t get people fired up over HealthCare, but you can when a celebrety dies? We can’t blaim the news networks, because they are only providing a product in the end, one that has eagerly been ‘bought’ time and again by we the consumers without demanding accountability or worthier stories. It comes down to us not demanding better or – better yet – turning off the damn tv and not giving them the ratings.

  • ecostar

    The self-important attitude of the media.

    Most of us cared about his death for the 20-30 minutes it deserved. He was a great artist and a seriously troubled man. But observe how many entertainers flock to the cameras to declare what a friend he was. Though it is a fabrication on their part, it illustrates their own self-absorbed sense of self (We certainly don’t care if they were friends or not, but it appears to matter to them)

    The media meanwhile is a mirror of this self-important attitude. It regurgitates the story ad nauseum on the basis of the same false assumption. It knows what the public really wants to see and they play a necessary role in providing the public the images and the opinions of so many of MJ’s “friends” that only they have access to (Meanwhile, we’re reaching the WTF saturation point or maybe the barf bag).

    It’s either that or maybe some of us can’t help watching the end result of a train wreck no matter how ugly the outcome. MJ’s life, death and the aftermath of his death are ample train wreck fodder. The hundreds of people vying for a piece of the legend will be a grand theater.

  • Bluejay

    It’s also possible that people just like a good story. Health care reform is undoubtedly more important, but it just doesn’t have the compelling narrative that Michael Jackson’s life and death have.

    If you want people to care more about important issues, you have to tell better stories about them.

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