Guilty as charged: The U.S. media

June 11, 2007 by barbara

by barbara

(See thrilling Sopranos update at the end of this post!!)

This just in from ABC News via Huffington Post.

Paris Hilton telephoned Barbara Walters yesterday, collect, to say: “I used to act dumb. That act is no longer cute. Now, I would like to make a difference. … God has given me this new chance.”

Full disclosure: As I read the story, I must confess that I thought I saw the fine hand of a public relations professional in all of this. What a cynical wench I am. Turns out it was the hand of the Almighty. Apparently jail is the place to go for divine guidance about one’s errant path. Think Charles Colson. Think Guantanamo. Please read on.

In addition to her stunning epiphany about the Almighty, Hilton has directed her lawyers not to appeal her sentence. She also urged the media to focus on more important things, such as Iraq. Ah, Paris, we hardly knew ye!

This morning, blessedly, I found no news about Paris Hilton on the front pages of my morning reads. Of course, this story is breaking news, so give it time. But what I did find on page one of the “news” sections was lengthy articles about the final episode of “The Sopranos”—in our local “news”paper, the NY Times, and the Washington Post, for starters.

And thereby hangs this tale.

I understand that papers and TV stations are businesses, driven by the bottom line. And, I would submit, driven more by the bottom line than by responsibility in current time. What the hell is going on when Paris Hilton last week made page one above the fold, while news of a replacement head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was relegated to page 16 (true truth)?!

In Minneapolis, the finest journalists (real ones!) of our Star Tribune were recently turned out to pasture in order to improve the bottom line. And we are left (righted?) with the likes of the conservative harpy Katherine Kersten. Spare me the pathetic charges about “liberal press.” Do not use the words “responsible” and “journalism” together. Because, as Bill Moyers pointed out on his excellent show a month or so ago, the press is complicit in the abominable state of our country and the world. And those who have sold out to George Bush or the bottom line should have the keys torn off their keyboards and their microphones turned off, rendering them mute.

Freedom of the press was never meant to mean distortion, cherry-picking, spinning, deleting, ignoring, selective story-telling. But it sure seems to me that’s where we are right now. Well, that and pimping stories that sell. And that brings us back to the chicken/egg thingie, i.e., giving the people what they want vs. cramming crap down our gullets until we forget there used to be something worthwhile in the media, at least part of the time.

Okay, ranting going on here. I can feel my breakfast rising on the heels of the Paris Hilton garbage (how’s THAT for a mangled metaphor?!). And color me complicit for allowing PH to hit the Clothesline again. I like to think of it as a teachable moment, but I'll be darned if I know what lesson can be learned from this.

I trust you will have comments aplenty about this. I am verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.

UPDATE!!!

Just so you know what really matters to people in this country?

This link will take you to an article urging people to cancel their HBO subscriptions to protest what the author says is the fact that the final episode of The Sopranos “robbed the audience of visual closure.”

Apparently people were so upset about the bloodless finale that they crashed HBO’s website whilst registering their outrage. The author goes on to say that (writer/director David) “Chase clearly didn’t give a damn about his fans. Instead, he crapped in their faces.”

Well. This gives me even greater insight into the shipwreck that is America. Crikey! Imagine, if you will, channeling this level of pissed-offedness at, say, the United States Congress. Or the White House. Say, maybe, anyplace that matters one scintilla.

The Sopranos as a raison d’être? Lord love a duck. We all gonna die.

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Comments

perhansa (not verified) | June 11, 2007 - 12:58pm

I can't help but believe the erosion of the MSM has to do with the market-driven, consumerist, media-happy society we've created, ala Marshall McLuhan. Those who fall on their knees to worship at the Shrine of the Free Market don't seem to see the devil in the details or the logical conclusion of a deregulated, laisse faire market. The underlying fuel that feeds the market is human greed and the desire to possess(affluenza). Life is suffering...suffering comes from desire...thus sayeth Buddha. Eye candy...thought candy...policy candy...values/ethical candy...welcome to the Age of Acquistion and "feel good". If it sells it must be "true" or "good" or "beautiful". How I long for the Greeks and the Enlightenment. How I detest our emerging "artifcial reality".

Where's my Kevorkian/meds guy???Why do I get up in the morning? Ha ha...same reason you do, to see what the new day might bring!

I learned recently that The Market, now raises chickens in the US, slaughters them, ships them to China to be cut up and packaged, then China ships them back to the US to sell (we do the same with wild salmon). It saves money---f*** the planet. Who cares what kind of "footprint" it leaves. It's economical from the Market perspective. This is the beating heart of the economy George and Co. are fighting so hard to protect from addressing climate change in any meaningful way. This is the only life anyome ion power cares about, The Market. Mammon. Funny how it's the religious right who support Mr. Mammon protector isn't it? Maybe George will stay in Albania where they appreciate his "qualities".

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perhansa (not verified) | June 11, 2007 - 3:38pm

Thanks for that "update". Now I feel MY breakfast and lunch coming up...

Why don't they just shut up and go take out their frustrations on the Ultimate Fighting reality show?

Homo Americanus Insanus...that's a fitting name for what our unique American version of the species is evolving into.

Gods Bless America! (or slap the fricken snot outta us, whichever will wake up the most people).

Paris's conversion is almost as stunning as W's conversion on climate change--about as believable too. As soon as Merkel and the rest of the G-ain't we-gr-8'ers are 4,000 miles away George will be back to backing the US Economy over the survival of the planet. Does this make me a cynic or a realist or a nihilist? Hmmm

Do you think George and Vlad-E-Meer looked into each others eyes or souls or dossiers? Or did they just swap vodka shots and laugh at how they've managed to screw their countrymen and women?

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barbara aka babs (not verified) | June 12, 2007 - 12:19pm

Affluenza? Fabulous!

Alas, poor Perhansa, I fear we may be complicit in driving you to our shared brink of despair.

Every morning, I wake up and tell myself that just for this one day (okay, this one morning), I will find my center (complicated by a generous roll of blubber) and maintain some degree of serenity.

Fat freaking chance! My country is besieged from within, its government is steeped in power-grabbing and utterly out of control, the Democrats are a terrible disappointment (this, of course, is not a new thing), and the closest thing to unifying Americans is Tony Soprano.

Crikey.

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perhansa (not verified) | June 12, 2007 - 1:19pm

As they say, it's no drive, only a short walk...

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susan | June 12, 2007 - 11:30pm

Babs to Perhansa: "I fear we may be complicit in driving you to our shared brink of despair."

What brink? Aren't we there? I passed brink a long time ago. Yes, it was a very short walk.

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