Michael Jackson story: Is it really that big? Saturation coverage of his arrest raises questions about America’s obsession with celebrity. [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]

I’ve got an answer for the question posed above. And so do the rest of you. Of course it’s not a big deal, except to the accused and accuser. But there’s something a lot darker involved in this than mere obsession with celebrity. Our media — and I’ve got that particular species of blood on my hands — are obsessed with what they guess their viewers/readers/listeners want to see/read/hear. And the assumption is the sensational, the titillating, the simply diverting takes precedence in the audience mind.

The day of The Jackson Arrest, Our President was in London to hang with his best War on Terrorism buddy. Al Qaida was in Istanbul, turning loose all manner of chaos on the streets. In our newsroom at TechTV, we had CNN tuned in most of the day, as we do every day. In the midst of The Jackson Hysteria, it seemed the real serious newsfolks down there in Atlanta could barely find a way to get the Istanbul news on the air. Everyone, even Judy Woodruff, the detestable Tucker Carlson, and the bloated Lou Dobbs were talking all Michael, all the time. It was almost enough to make you laugh.

There might be an obsession at work here. But it’s not the audience that’s obsessed.


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