Friday, February 09, 2007

Re-Start the Presses!

If Anna Nicole Smith had died because Britney Spears ran her over while driving drunk, I could understand the fuss.

If Smith had perished in a tragic accident during O.J.'s filming of "If I did it" then Larry King would have every right to be amazed.

But neither of those things happened. Smith died in a Florida casino at age 39 without help as far as we know. It's very sad. So are a lot of things in this world, and they don't get on TV or in the paper.

Yours truly is no news prude. I was in the racket for too long, and I know every day in journalism is a balancing act between the stuff people need to know to be functioning citizens in a democracy and the stuff they actually want to know. It's tough to put on airs about the public trust when you spent two months of your life covering Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding. A good tabloid hoo-ha can be fun, and let's not try and pretend the country didn't enjoy itself immensely during Simpson's murder trial and the Monica Lewinsky affiar.

But unless one's a charter subscriber to "Probate Court Illustrated", Smith's passing holds interest, prurient or otherwise. Well-built bimbos have been landing old coots in their second childhood since forever. Go reread the last days of King David in the old Testament. Otherwise, Smith wasn't merely a fake celebrity, she was a fake fake celebrity, without even the minimal accomplishments of other tabloid favs. Spears was at least a Mouseketeer. That poor woman in Florida was a real astronaut. She flew in outer space.

One need not be a lefty conspiracist to note American TV news would rather cover ANYTHING than the catastrophe in Iraq and its unpleasant implications for our current government of, by, and for the money. That's irrelevant to my complaint. If we're to be distracted by bread and circuses, I want a good circus, with liontamers. Smith was more like a petting zoo.

As an unemployed journalist, the Smith furor makes me worry about my former trade. Our lack of standards is clearly slipping.


At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mike

Just wanted to let you know at least one person is out here reading your passionate and eloquent stuff. i got ya bookmarked.


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