Friday, July 3, 2009

Breaking News: Michael Jackson Still Dead

Yep. Still dead. Hasn't risen. Though the way the media has been over-covering this story you would think he's the Second Coming. A peek at Google News this morning yielded almost tens of thousands of articles and blog posts alone. That doesn't even speak to the television and radio coverage. Do I really have to see every nook and cranny of his Neverland Ranch, especially knowing what may have gone on in there with young children? The death of a former president doesn't even yield this kind of attention.

Here's the deal. Michael Jackson was a talented entertainer. He could sing and dance (though one could make a reasonable argument that he hadn't produced a decent album since Thriller in 1982). Jackson's personal struggles are well-known and need not be rehashed here. The details surrounding his death are suspicious and the complete picture will take months to sort out. The custody battle over his children will also take months if not years to sort out. And people will continue to buy his albums in record numbers as they have been since news of his death. Essentially, this story will be with us for a long time.

But does it deserve the kind of attention it has received and will receive? To quote a wise old journalist friend of mine: "With no disrespect for the deceased, one could surely ask at what point would an international pop star's death cease to be a media commodity to be endlessly marketed above all other issues?" I say enough already. There are so many more pressing issues today that should receive attention in the news cycle. I am hoping that most Americans will have the same reaction that I have when I flip through the television stations and come upon yet another story about the life and death of Michael Jackson: an uncontrollable twitch of the thumb upon the remote which immediately changes the channel.

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