Who will mourn the MSM’s passing?

Written By: - Date published: 5:25 am, July 9th, 2009 - 20 comments
Categories: Media, scoundrels - Tags:

Can you believe that TV One had an hour long special on Michael Jackson’s funeral and then ten minutes in the news?

Excuse my language but what the fuck is wrong with our media?

A mate emailed me after he saw the TVNZ presser (yes, they put one out) announcing the one-hour special saying, ‘I just don’t understand. Have I got people all wrong? Is this what really matters to them? I can’t believe so but if it’s true am I wrong about society and, therefore, are my political ideals wrong?’

I don’t think so. It’s not the people’s fault. It’s the media who systematically distort people’s perceptions of what’s important by focusing on the three cheapest things to cover in the news and have shows about – crime, entertainment, and sport. Feed people tripe enough and tripe starts to become delicious; the mention of tripe makes people hungry.

Unfortunately, even TVNZ7, which promised to be a real news channel, has already succumbed to the pulp infotainment crap. Another emailer writes:

I am a Sky subscriber but do not have Freeview. I was happy to read on Red Alert today that TVNZ7 was now available. I decided to tune in to the news at 8, I missed the regular edition. I was promised the inside story, in-depth interviews and analysis. The first news story was about Michael Jackson’s memorial service.

It went on for 16 Minutes.

I have E! Channel and MTV and C4 for this kind of trash/story. I do not think that someone tuning into TVNZ7 would be after that somehow.

A lot of people fret about the death of professional news reporting as the Internet eats the traditional media. I look the garbage like this that we are served by the mainstream media and I say don’t worry about the demise of journalism, it passed away long ago. What we’ve got now deserves to die.

20 comments on “Who will mourn the MSM’s passing?”

  1. lprent 1

    My views exactly. Broadbased mass media belongs to another age. I will miss the news content, but it has almost gone anyway.

    The focus and feature articles have largely migrated to specialist doco programmes and the weekend papers.

    The real issue is how do you continue to pay for people to seek the news rather than just plowing through the press releases. I suspect that the magazines like the economist and the gossip rags will survive. What is likely to die are the large daily papers and the network tv.

    The news media were interesting over the last

    • Rex Widerstrom 1.1

      Broadbased mass media belongs to another age.

      That’s the easy and, I’d argue, defeatist answer. Sharing certain national experiences – whether it be election night, a rugby game or a Telethon – has all sorts of benefits: personal, societal and political.

      Certainly the proliferation of media channels is going to make those occasions less frequent but broadbased mass media could have a role to play if it stopped endlessly chasing the lowest common denominator down a rabbit hole.

      I’d still argue that if someone created a TV show that combined intelligent discussion of topical issues with humour, injected a bit of controversy (not manufactured it as TV often tried to do by saying something lame, but had the kind of heated but polite debates that occur on the better blogs) and gave it a reasonable budget and a good time slot then a mass audience would still watch. What I’d call the “Clive James Show” approach… using satire and mockery to slip in a bit of intelligent debate and commentary here and there.

      I don’t know what sort of audience Media 7 is getting, but it’s an example of the sort of thing I mean, as was, in a different way, Eating Media Lunch. But they have time slot and/or channel working against them.

      In Australia Channel 10 is about to try “The 7pm Project”, subtitled “News, but not as you know it”. Points to them for bravery, but considering it’s the brainchild of Rove McManus and he’s stacked it with his mates rather than looking for people capable of being incisive (one host is fresh off “Australian Idol” for goodness sake) I’m willing to predict I won’t be resorting to “cutting edge” or “satire” to describe it.

      P.S. Yay I have edit back… but it never seems to expire?! Of course you can trust us registrants not to redact the parts of our opinion later proven to be fallacious 😈

  2. Razorlight 2

    The funeral for of the biggest celebrity is big news.

    What would you have preferred. A one hour investigation into how hopeless John Key is as a Prime Minister?

    • Eddie 2.1

      why? why is the funeral of the person you’ve just appointed biggest celebrity big news? Why is it worth an hour ten of coverage?

      Oh, maybe you’re being ironic.

      • Razorlight 2.1.1


        I totally understand where you are coming from and to a degree agree with your general argument. We far to often have a media obsessed with celebrity culture.But I don’t think that is the case here and I think you are being far to subjective here.

        In terms of popular modern culture I cannot think of anything or anyone bigger than Michael Jackson. Just look at the records he sold. Whether you like him or not you cannot deny he had a huge effect on peoples lives through his music. One million ordinary people travelling to LA for his funeral is evidence of this.

        Michael Jackson will be in the history books forever in the same part of the library as The Beatles, Mozart and Shakespare.

        In my opinion there has been no news story of any kind in the past 10 days that comes close to being as big as Jackson’s death.

        As I said, I know why you disagree with this, but I do not find it strange at all that this is considered news.

        • Tigger

          I suspect it was damned if you do or damned if you don’t. Here they’re slammed for covering it extensively and if they hadn’t people would have complained. I thought the coverage was not inappropriate and nicely put together.

          I can understand dislike of this story taking up a good portion of the 6pm news but why the ire over the one hour special? It was hardly taking up time typically devoted to hard news.

      • Ag 2.1.2

        Michael Jackson was arguably the most famous person in the world. There really hasn’t been anyone that famous since Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. Even my grandmother, who hates popular music and popular culture, knows who Michael Jackson is.

        Look, the guy had just sold out the O2 arena fifty times over, and had the biggest selling album of all time.

        When Elvis died it was big news. When Muhammad Ali dies, expect the coverage to dwarf the Jackson coverage.

  3. lprent 3

    Incidently there was a great article in werewolf about this. But from a viewpoint opposite to Eddie or myself.

  4. infused 4

    You’ve already failed by stating you watch the news. I’ve haven’t watched the news since, well… ages. That’s what the nets for.

  5. Eddie 5

    Oh, I didn’t watch it 🙂 better things to do. I got the 10 minute figure from the website.

  6. I still remember losing half the news for weeks when Princess Diana died. It was so damn tedious.

  7. StephenR 7

    I suspect that the magazines like the economist and the gossip rags will survive.

    The Economist is indeed doing well: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200907/news-magazines, though not so much Newsweek and Time and the like.

    Loving the easier to read spam protection thingy.

  8. Pat 8

    ‘I just don’t understand. Have I got people all wrong? Is this what really matters to them? I can’t believe so but if it’s true am I wrong about society and, therefore, are my political ideals wrong?’

    The untimely death of the biggest pop culture figures has always been massive news. Think Elvis, Lennon, Monroe and Diana. Jackson’s death ranks among them, because his influence on pop culture worldwide has been equally as profound.

    So yes, I think your friend is right to question whether they are out of touch.

  9. jcuknz 9

    I simply pressed the mute button until the front person appeared again and switch off when we get to sports, TV3 which appears to be similar …. now all we have to find out is where he is going to be buried … that will be worth at least ten minutes for sure.

    Note … awhile back I re-organised my room and cannot get TV1 properly, wall in way of positioning aerial etc.

  10. I find blogs give the best news. Each tainted with the particular views of their authors which, when combined, give an excellent overview of the story. Of course you have to pull the twigs out of the brew but that’s okay.

    This blog is one I use to find out what is actually going on. Thanks.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    I didn’t watch it, didn’t know it was on and, even if I had I still wouldn’t have watched it. I gave up on TV news decades ago – I gave up on newspaper news about 3 years ago. Now I read and post on the blogs and whatever scientific magazines are available on the net.

  12. felix 12

    What’s this “TV” you speak of?

  13. Pat 13

    If one of the themes of Eddie’s post is questioning whether one is out of touch, then some of the replies are answering the question.

    Newsflash: Most people still watch TV, and still get their news from TV. (Unless you’re a teenager, then you watch C4).

    Political blogs are for political junkies. No-one should kid themselves that political blogs have an influence on the elusive undecideds or swing voters. It’s just bollocks.

    Like it or not, a Duncan Garner or a Guyon Espiner have far more influence on the political perceptions of the masses than a Farrar, an Eddie or any other political blogger.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      I’m quite aware of all that Pat – I try to do my best to persuade people that if they want to get politically informed they should stop watching TV and start reading the blogs. I get one every now and then.

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