By Paul M. Banks
Slightly before Anna Nicole Smith died, my consumption of the MSM (mainstream media) dwindled down to nothing. When CNN, MSNBC and the conservative public relations firm known as Fox News then spent the next 3 weeks covering nothing but the passing of a C-list celebrity slag, (more like D-list, so her classification matches her cup size) I knew I was not missing anything. Here we go again with Michael Jackson. We’ve had a week of overkill already, and I’m guessing that the pathetic institution that we call the MSM will continue making us dumber and more uninformed till August.
First off, I want to say that I own four Michael Jackson albums, all of which he recorded prior to 1993. Like most people, I paid no attention to any music he produced in the last 15-20 years. Which begs the question, if his death is supposed to be THE MOST MONUMENTAL EVENT in human history, which all the papers and networks are making it out to be, how come no one bought any of his records during the last decade plus of his life? I’m blasé about his death because I was blasé about his life. At least I’m consistent.
You people who actually find this news important and meaningful even though you didn’t consume his products are hypocrites. And even if you did buy every song he ever recorded, why do you care anyway? Unless you’re one of his family, friends, or business associates, he didn’t know you and you didn’t know him.
So his death, although unfortunate, sad and (I guess some people would even deem it) tragic, has ZERO IMPACT on your life and mine. That’s why I was done with this story by the morning after it was announced. Because it has no relevance to my daily life, and I don’t care a lick. I had nothing against Jackson while he was alive and I certainly have nothing against him now that he has gone to a better place. But I have everything against the MSM- who right now are just “merchants of death” on par with a billion-dollar defense contractor conglomerate
The only reason we’re being banged over the head with this story is because it’s a very cheap and cost-effective story for newspapers and T.V. stations to produce. And it brings in cheap, easy ratings. The reason the field of journalism is such a pathetic joke these days is because it has everything to do with business and profits and absolutely nothing to do with news. We have real problems to deal with and talk about in this country. There’s a crisis with our economy, healthcare system and our climate. And right now our government is looking to enact new legislation that would help all three of these situations.
Of course, no one knows anything about it because Jackson’s death is pushing it all to the back page. Considering how pathetic our Congress has been this past decade or so, the fact that they’re even close to doing anything constructive is a story in itself. I can’t call the news-industrial complex a big, huge expensive waste of time and space. Because as we’re currently in the midst of this round-the-clock coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, that would be a insult to big, huge expensive wastes of time and space.
For more media industry critique, see this post as well as this essay I wrote when I started The Sports Bank in early ’07, and that I also presented to journalism conference this past March…notice how similar some of the paragraphs are to Frank Rich’s feature column this past May.