The hysterical, unrelenting media coverage of Jackson crowded out almost all news reports of the Iranian massacres, of the terrible Congressional carbon-tax bill (which might not have passed the House or even been brought to a vote had it received more public attention), of North Korea and of who-knows-what other important issues at the end of the past week. Our corrupt, agenda-driven political leaders, not to mention this country’s enemies, are no doubt taking full advantage of the windfall.
The people who wallow in Jackson’s death are foolish and self-indulgent and lack grown-up perspective. Even worse are the mass-media who cater to the wallowers. Since most of the media are already covering Jackson one might think an enterprising network would see competitive advantage in covering, for at least part of the day, some of the important things that are going on in the world. But no, they are lemmings, and the result is 24/7 Jackson. (And here let me send a special fuck you to Fox News. The self-proclaimed antidote to biased big media confirms itself to be just another bunch of ratings whores whose supposed patriotism and interest in serious news vanish at the first notice of a missing white child or a celebrity scandal.)
Political bias is a big cause of the decline of the legacy media, but the inherent weaknesses of advertising-driven broadcasting shouldn’t be discounted. Broadcasters make money by generating traffic, which means they try to generate as much traffic as possible, typically by emphasizing the tawdry and the salacious and by ginning up controversy. On the Internet this is known as trolling and is derided. In the broadcast world this is known as the dominant business model. Our media status quo is better than having a government-controlled press (Fox is still superior to NPR), and the Internet now provides important alternative sources of information. Nevertheless, our broadcast media’s insane focus on Jackson’s death is an infuriating reminder of how much those media’s limitations may be costing us in the long run as a society.