Breaking News = Broken News

OK, Michael Jackson is dead, very sad – but Jesus Christ! Last night virtually every single news program was entirely devoted to hours and hours and hours of what was essentially, given the relative paucity of details, a five-minute story. Endless footage of people milling around outside Jackson’s home with nothing happening, combined with endless footage of the outside of the medical center containing his body, as overvoices intoned endlessly that yes, he is dead, and no, we don’t yet know much about why he died or who found him or whether there were drugs involved or who will get custody of his kids, and yes, he is still dead – all while a big red sign declares, hour after hour, “BREAKING NEWS,” a phrase which has long since lost all meaning.

Why has this story pushed all other news aside? I mean, they’re treating it like it’s 9/11 or something. (I’ll bet Mark Sanford wishes that Jackson had died a few days earlier ….) I couldn’t find a single reference to events in Iran, for example, on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, CNN-HL, PBS, or FOX. And with my home computer currently on the fritz I was stuck with tv. Thank God for BBC News, which finally provided me with some actual news.


11 Responses to Breaking News = Broken News

  1. Richard June 26, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    I have to admit that for a state-funded institution the BBC is pretty damn good, especially its news services. I still don’t like them charging me 150 quid a year for a TV licence though.

    • Robert Paul June 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

      I agree that it’s better than many major media outlets, but they all have essentially the same bias. I do think that in a freed market, nonprofit news organizations would quite possibly be better than for-profit ones.

  2. Neverfox June 26, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    And it was also entirely too predictable. The minute I heard the news, I knew that the Iran story or any other story of death related to (say) actual aggression and tyranny was toast and that the evening’s news would play out exactly as you describe here. Arg!

  3. Robert Paul June 26, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    I’m actually ok with it, because TV news sucks anyway. Michael Jackson’s death is a big deal, so it could be worse.

  4. JMangum June 27, 2009 at 12:18 am #

    The only time I ever watched network news was at my last job where the lunch room TV was set to one of the networks. I’d be in and out of there a dozen times during the day and the “Breaking News” header was always up, no matter what story, or how old.

  5. b-psycho June 27, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    I knew the coverage had officially gone overboard when MSNBC had Ed Schultz talking about it instead of, y’know, what MSNBC hired him to talk about.

    Cable news is generally background noise for me, w/ the occasional ridiculous talking head comment becoming possible blog fodder if I catch it. But the past few days I couldn’t have it on because they just would not shut the fuck up about Michael.

  6. Briggs Armstrong June 28, 2009 at 1:13 am #

    I know this is strange but… I often wonder what people would think if they could see what other peoples’ rxn is to their death. Jackson at one point (immediately post alleged pederasty scandal) had an only 5% positive rating from the public. Now there are thousands of people mourning his passing and going to great lengths to “pay their respects.” It seems unfortunate that he was unable to see this.

    If only people could live long enough to see their deaths.

  7. Roderick June 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

    Will the Michael Jackson news frenzy last long enough to blot out the news of further extramarital affairs of Mark Sanford becoming public? I mean, you know, if there should happen to be two or three others, and if they should happen to become public over the next week or so…

    • MBH June 30, 2009 at 1:46 am #

      Similar to how John Ensign’s affair was made public a day after the protesting started in Iran.

  8. Kevin Carson June 30, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

    I still think Gary Condit was funding Al Qaeda’s 9-11 operation.


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