(We’re Quickly Becoming) A Nation of Idiots

Via Big Hollywood:

Michael Jackson died and the media cried. But don’t worry; they were tears of joy, not despair. After all, what better time to sacrifice journalistic integrity for the sake of high ratings and bloated ad revenues?

In the weeks following Jackson’s death, the level and scope of coverage was and continues to be mind-numbing. Sure, MJ’s death was tragic, but tragedy doesn’t warrant the widespread disengagement of American media outlets, nor does it permit the dumbing down of pertinent information. To borrow from John Ziegler, the obsessive coverage of Michael Jackson’s death is yet another glaring symptom of the malpractice that is all too common amongst today’s media elite.

It’s no surprise that CNN and others are jumping on the bandwagon. Jackson’s collapse and subsequent death fueled increased viewership and network interest. According to CNN co-founder Reese Schonfeld:

“Jackson’s death brought all sorts of new viewers to the cable news networks, and it’s obvious that most of them turned to CNN. CNN is still seen, by most people who are not news junkies, as the place to turn to for news they really care about.”

Schonfeld went on to say the following:

“It’s unfortunate that the news they seem to care about is the death of an entertainer, no matter how great, when there are things happening in the world that will affect them and their children much more significantly.”

So, Schonfeld is hypocritically rejoicing over increased ratings while his network abandons world events to cover the life of a man who has had and will continue to have little viable impact on society. He’s basically saying, “How tragic that people care about such irrelevant information, but hey – our ratings are through the roof!”

Railing against citizen love for the unimportant, while praising the effect such coverage has over CNN’s bankroll is nonsensical (from a journalistic perspective, at least). And this is only one example. CNN surely isn’t the only network at fault, as plenty of others have joined in and reneged on their responsibility to the American people.

In their classic spirit when dollar signs come into focus, the media abandon reporting the news that actually affects Americans in order to capitalize on the revenues they can expect from their self-perpetuated campaigns, with “All Michael Jackson, All the Time” being the most recent narcissistic example.  Frankly, it’s embarrassing and fraudulent. The Fourth Estate has become the court gesture – and that’s being kind.

But, it’s not only the media who are at fault. U.S. citizens – led by members of my own generation – have continued to fuel the fire. Eric Holder was way off base when he called Americans a “nation of cowards.” What he should have called us was a nation of idiots (please note the sarcasm here, as I’d rather watch MSNBC than give Holder’s comment credence — and that’s saying something).

Many young Americans are so blind to the domestic and international issues that will surely impact their world, that they’d rather fawn over a pop legend they never knew, than confront the important issues that directly impact their lives.  Why expend the energy needed to understand the difference between a deficit and the national debt when you can watch the mainstream media slobber over the advertising revenues they receive from exploiting the death of a former super star? It’s shameful.

CNN and other related outlets should have the nerve to report real news, as should the American people crave the information that will lead to greater transparency and personal betterment. Here are some events we missed out on during the MJ hooplah:

  • Vice-president Joe “Gaffetastic” Biden said, “”We misread how bad the economy was,” a statement that should have sent the globe spinning. Instead, it quickly faded as the media contemplated which doctor should be blamed for MJ’s death.
  • Calls for a second stimulus began to surface (although anyone who was paying attention to Obama’s budget would have noticed billions budgeted for another potential “stimulus” back in April).
  • After the unprecedented connection that was established between Americans and Iranians, the media essentially abandoned the Iranian election story as Iranians continued to fight and protest in the streets of Tehran.
  • The media showed wreathes and memorials set for MJ, while American soldiers sacrificing their lives overseas went unnoticed. After all, how would the American people know of their sacrifices without a media body committed to relaying such pertinent information? Lt. Brian Bradshaw died the same day as MJ and his aunt had this to say in response to the media’s outlandish coverage: “Mr. Jackson received days of wall-to-wall coverage in the media. Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week?” Good question.

Beyond my complaining, it is important to note that the media have a responsibility to serve as a check on our government. Each outlet is intended to add value and context to the democratic process. Whether it be inherent political bias or the abandoning of real news for elevated ratings, the media are continuously abandoning the American people. The only question that remains: Is there any turning back?