Jacob Schneider: Covering Jackson
In the week or so since the death of pop star Michael Jackson, there has been a complete media frenzy surrounding the details of his passing
In the week or so since the death of pop star Michael Jackson, there has been a complete media frenzy surrounding the details of his passing. Virtually every media outlet has been running non-stop coverage on the subject, asking questions like "was it an overdose?" "what will happen to his children?" and "who will inherit Jackson's assets?"
With the passing of several other celebrities, and many other newsworthy events taking place around the globe in the time since Jackson's death, hardly any of these stories have earned the attention they would under normal circumstances. Instead they have all been eclipsed by the looming shadow of Jackson's legacy coverage.
Should televised network news stations be offering non-stop coverage of Jackson's life and death, when there is important world news to discuss, and other fallen celebrities that deserve to commemoration?
Although I understand that Jackson is a larger than life figure even after his death, I find it to be a great injustice to the citizens of the world to all but ignore the deaths of Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, television pitchman Billy Mays, and most recently NFL quarterback Steve McNair, not to mention the events taking place in Honduras, North Korea, and Iran.
In the cases of McMahon and Fawcett, who both passed prior to the king of pop, they were both given some media coverage, but nothing that could possibly compare to the onslaught of coverage that would follow Jackson's death.
With television pitchman Billy Mays, it was a here today gone tomorrow affair. Even though Mays might not have been as high profile as the others, he was definitely as recognizable as any. It was nearly impossible to sit through a commercial break without bearing witness to one of his OxiClean infomercials. After the announcement of his death there has been little mentions as to the circumstances of his passing on network news. I had to take to the internet to discover that medical examiners believe that Mays was suffering from heart disease.
If this were a slow news week, or Mays had passed before Jackson, I'm sure that there would have been in depth coverage on the life and career of Billy Mays, Similar to that that Kung Fu star David Carradine received after his death.
After discovering through an internet chat room Saturday evening that former Super bowl quarterback Steve McNair had been fatally shot and killed, I had to sit through at least 20 minutes of information on how to get tickets for Jackson's memorial service at the Staples Center before McNair's name was even mentioned on a network news station.
Now I'm not saying that any of the names mentioned above can even begin to rival the star power that Michael Jackson held as one of the world's greatest entertainers, but they all lived storied lives in the public eye as well, and they deserve better than what the media is giving them.
In no way am I saying that Jackson doesn't deserve the amount of media coverage that he has received, after all no entertainer of this magnitude has died since Elvis, other than maybe John Lennon, but the world keeps turning with or without Michael Jackson. There are stories that need to be discussed in a public forum.
Take the current situation in Honduras for example, some are accusing the Obama administration for meddling in the affairs of the central American country that removed their leader via a coup that has been called constitutional and democratic. This needs to be discussed.
What about reasons as to why Sara Palin suddenly announced that she would be stepping down as governor of Alaska, or how North Korea has test fired 7 more missiles over the weekend?
Remember two weeks ago when the Iranian protest were the biggest news story in the world? Granted things have calmed down quite a bit over there, but there is still a lot of questions as to what is really going on inside that country.
Perhaps dedicating the last 20 minutes of each hour to Michael Jackson's story and the investigation surrounding his death is a fair compromise. The viewing public would still gets their much needed world and national news, while still getting all the fresh details surrounding the Jacksons.
There is no reason as to why the networks can't feed us important world news while simultaneously following the Michael Jackson saga as it unravels. Instead of dedicating so much time for "infotainment," the networks need to do a better job of balancing the news, and separating information from entertainment.