Monday, June 29, 2009

How much is TOO MUCH?

Does the date August 16, 1977 ring a bell? Think. Now think really hard...

It may be a distant memory, tucked away on a shelf or in a closet somewhere at home, along with a collection of other memorabilia. Unless you're an Elivs Presley fan. He died many years ago, but his death is an example of how the mainstream media has evolved over the decades.

Read on...

Celebrity coverage. It's my topic in blogs today, only because a notable number of celebrities have died over the past week. The number is notable, however most of the coverage has been focused on the King of Pop. Michael Jackson's death has dominated the airwaves since his death last week. Since that day, entire newscasts have been dedicated to M.J. (to his life and legacy). He was an important man to pop culture. An icon. That, no one can deny. I'm just wondering if anything else is going on in the world right now? I wouldn't know. My fellow journalists have been drowning in what seems like endless interest in Jackson's death.

It did not surprise me however, to see the national news obsessively filling air time with anything Michael Jackson. It is what I expected. After years in the business, I have come to learn many things about what journalism is today. I learned about what it was in University.

What it was...and what it is. Don't think it'll ever go back to the way it was. That statement doesn't not reflect my feelings about what journalism is today. Just an observation.

August 16, 1977. If the date isn't etched in your memory, it may be because of the way it was covered by the media more than 30 years ago. When the King of Rock 'n'Roll passed away, it didn't make the lead on the the CBS Evening News, most likely because whoever was in charge of coverage at the time didn't deem it newsworthy. Not worthy, but NEWSworthy. The head of CBS News at that time was Richard Salant.

His explanation? "Our job is not to respond to public taste."

It begs the question, how much is TOO much when it comes to celebrity coverage?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Infidelity in the Public Eye

There's a laundry list of dirty politicians that have been caught with their pants down. Yes. The pun was intended. My topic in blogs today: high-profile public officials busted for cheating on their wives. The most notable and infamous affair that sparked a wave of coverage on infidelity in the public eye was former President Bill Clinton. Who could forget that scandal? Sure the rumor mill has always included past Presidents, and while their alleged cheating was quietly swept under a rug, Mr. Clinton's salacious affair ignited a flurry of interest into public officials' personal lives.

The latest to publicly admit and tearfully apologize to an affair is South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford. The details surrounding his disappearance were downright bizarre and cause for speculation that Mr. Sandford wasn't telling "us" something. That something was a mistress.

The dirty laundry list of politicians includes (but is not limited to) past Presidential hopeful John Edwards. Who could forget his ailing wife by his side as he confessed his sins on national television? Then there was New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who couldn't keep it in his pants. He was nabbed for his involvement in a high-priced prostitution ring. In case you forgot, former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani, current NY Gov. David Paterson, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have also been in the spotlight for their affairs.

Unfaithful politicians publicly pay the price for their infidelity: humiliation, a damaged reputation, and in some cases the end of a political career. These men are not the first, and they certainly won't be the last to be dubbed "cheaters", all of their political achievements tainted and sometimes forgotten. Some say a politician who betrays his wife betrays the public's trust: do you agree? Is a dishonest husband also a dishonest politician, businessman, lawyer, or doctor?

I'm not going to analyze why politicians cheat. Over inflated egos? I don't think the answer is that simple. And since I'm not a psychologist, I won't attempt to dissect their behavior. All I want to know is: is it any of our business? Does the public have a right to know? And since I'm a journalist, I can only ask the questions...not answer them.