Better yet, shoot me. End the misery of watching a respected mainstream US News brand decline into an ever-growing celebrity sinkhole. Ryan Seacrest? The host of American Idol? He’s the one joining a legendary ‘news’ system that brought us Garroway, Huntley, Brinkley, Chancellor, Brokaw and Williams? Will the nightly news build suspense by having him say, “we’ll take you live to the firefight in Afghanistan where Taliban rebels have a US scout team pinned down… af-ter the break?”
It’s official. The dumbing down of the USA media is now complete. I used to scream at David Gregory of NBC’s Meet the Press for failing to pin GOP and Dem politicians down on issues and letting them just spew talking points. Now THAT will be the most potent news programme on the entire network?
Instead of covering complex issues like the breakdown of the transition of Iraq Camp Ashraf refugees to Camp Liberty; the brutality, carnage and potential war crimes by Bashar al-Assad in Syria; the complex austerity and union busting issues surrounding UK and the Eurozone (and several US state) crises; or domestic issues such as the GOP War on Women via 944 bills in the first quarter of 2012 seeking to limit a women’s reproductive freedom, they instead allow politicians to whitewash past positions whilst focussing an inordinate amount of time on celebrity and trivial.
Want to know anything about a missing young white girl, there is no shortage of coverage. If on the other hand the missing young daughter is of colour, fahgedaboutit! This past week every media outlet in the USA ran a story covering a three-year-old boy ‘not’ catching a baseball and crying inconsolably at a Texas Rangers game? Where is the coverage of three year old children daily massacred by the Syrian Government’s troops?
When a celebrity like Whitney Houston dies under any circumstances it is a tragedy. But why is the drowning death of a woman under the influence of so many different drugs her brain’s self-survival instinct is unable to jolt her to consciousness and bring her head above the surface to save herself worth 34 of 40 minutes of the first hour of a national morning ‘news’ broadcast, when the rest of the world was in the midst of more Murdoch-related phone hacking arrests and the fight over press freedoms threatened by SOPA and PIPA laws? Or were those just proving a point that if these are the headlines a ‘free’ press chooses, a dead pop superstar, would they even fight for their freedoms anyways?
Does the world really need to see live minute-by-minute coverage of Ms. Houston’s funeral when weather systems caused by climate change & global warming destroy entire cities with some of the earliest and most dangerous tornado cyclones ever recorded and it’s 80 degrees in New York City in February? As I write this story on a Sunday afternoon in Wales we endure a storm with 70 mph winds and driving rains which is becoming the norm?
But if anyone tries to cover or suggest that climate change is real, they are pounded into the ground by lobbyists and special interests representing the oil and gas industry saying it’s OK to extract every last ounce of carbon from the ground no matter what is put at risk: the Arctic, local water supplies or Gulf shrimp?
Are our priorities now so skewed that ALL news must be entertainment? Do we so diminish and demean the audience that only the trivial is capable of keeping one’s attention for 22-minutes? Will we just give them their handheld devices, let them play and never, ever read or follow real news? There are more than a few former Soviet leaders rolling on the ground (or in their graves) laughing at this complete mind control by social media. If we’d had iPhones in 1984 would the Soviet system possibly have survived?
Where is the outrage over the GOP mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs whilst pushing a 24/7/366 agenda of social issues?
Where is the tough reporting and outrage over a GOP controlled Congress with a 9% approval rating grabbing every open microphone to say ‘President Obama has failed’ while they work every other week and do nothing? Where is the outrage over obstruction by a GOP House that refuses to fix the USA’s problems because that might give this president a policy victory? Or the outrage over a GOP Senate that blocks the passage of every bill on cloture of filibuster rules for the same reason?
The Boston Herald reported the most extraordinary coincidence that US Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts who earns $174,000 per year in that role, now owns six properties and in two years in the Senate has seen his income rise from $294K when he took office to $840K in the first year, yet all the media felt was newsworthy about that jump while theoretically doing the people’s work was $1401 deduction for hair and make-up? Why has no one investigated where $650K came from on a $174K salary? Because makeup for a former GQ cover boy is far more interesting.
Washington is burning, the GOP are fiddling out on the patio with cocktails and golf, no one in the media is holding anyone’s feet to the fire out of fear they will be denied ‘access’ and the only thing we know for certain?
Ryan Seacrest of NBC News will give us a shocking Kim Kardashian update… af-ter the break.
Denis G Campbell is the author of 6 books including 'Billionaire Boys Election Freak Show,' 'The Vagina Wars' & 'Egypt Unsh@ckled.' He is the editor of UK Progressive Magazine and provides commentary to the BBC, itv Al Jazeera English, CNN, MSNBC and others. His weekly 'World View with Denis Campbell' segment can be heard every Thursday on the globally syndicated The David Pakman Show. You can follow him on Twitter via @UKProgressive and on Facebook.
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