4
Jul
2009

michael jackson


Folks, please, just… stop.

I have really tried refraining from even touching on the subject of Michael Jackson, but this has now reached absurd proportions.  I can understand fans being sad at his passing, but the idea that the website set up to award tickets to his memorial service (which the fact they are giving out tickets to this is disturbing in its own right) received 500 million hits in the first hour of operation.  While it is safe to say many of those were multiple visits from the same people, that is still insane.

Even though only 8,750 people will be issued a pair of tickets, 1.2 million officially applied for tickets.  The city of Los Angeles is expecting around 500,000 to 750,000 to descend upon the Staples Center to stand around outside the center during the ceremony.

Now comes the news that the networks are going to make this in to even more of a circus

  • CBS is handing over the majority of its programming for the day to coverage of the event.  The Early Show, Evening News with Katie Couric and a special edition of 48 Hours anchored by Katie Couric will all originate from the Staples Center in Los Angeles where the event is being held.
  • ABC will be doing live coverage of the event starting at 10 AM PDT and will pre-empt their normal daytime programming.  They are sending Charles Gibson to do the coverage.
  • NBC will not do live coverage, but instead will do a one-hour highlights show Tuesday night.
  • CNN will be live.
  • MSNBC will be live.
  • E! will be live.

Stop… please, for the love of the deity of your choice, just stop.

Michael Jackson was indeed a talented singer, but he was just that… a singer.  He didn’t cure diseases.  He didn’t serve his country.  He did nothing heroic.  He was a cute child singer, and he grew in to a very disturbed adult man due to any number of reasons that became better known for his eccentricities than his talents.  If you want to mourn him, fine, but does anyone really need to stand outside of an arena in the summer heat to mark his passing?  (hope you all remember to bring water)  Does every network need to have a crew on hand for this?  No.

This is all part of an idolism of celebrities that makes no real sense.  Anyone remember the insanity surrounding the death of Princess Diana?  At least she went out and tried to change people’s lives, while Michael… spent money on amusement park rides?  The fervor over Diana’s death didn’t make any sense either, as I said in Scattercast Episode 50, I’m not sure a terrorist attack by Osama Bin Laden would have gotten media coverage during that week in 1997, and that’s how I’m feeling about this insanity swirling around everything involving Michael Jackson.

You don’t think it has spun horribly out of control? Did you know that Anderson Cooper 360 actually went through the trouble to track down Michael Jackson’s pet chimp, Bubbles? Thanks to The Colbert Report, you can see this news handled in the manner it was most deserving of.

When you start hunting down a chimp as ‘news’, you know this story has been beat to within an inch of its life.

Up until the day he died, Michael Jackson was vilified by the media for close to 20 years, but come the day he died, he turned into something close to being a saint in the eyes of the media, and that is just sickening to me.  Not only have you obviously used this man’s death to improve your ratings, but you have betrayed your previous stance on him with your sickeningly saccharine-laced new version of the events of what and who Michael Jackson was.  Shame on the media.  How about you take that energy you spent on finding Bubbles and look in to what happened in Ft. Worth?  What is the latest on the civil unrest in Iran?  How is the world reacting to the seven ballistic missles North Korea fired in to the Sea of Japan today?  No no, that’s okay, please go do a hard hitting interview with Bubbles… really, that’s what we need more of in this world, not real news.

As for the public… well… I won’t say “shame on you” because I don’t know what each person’s individual motivation is for caring about this man so much about him, but it sure doesn’t make any sense to me to get this worked up over a celeberities death.