Posts Tagged ‘CNN’
I was just getting a little more comfortable, now that Michael Jackson Media Madness is (for the moment) stabilized.
Then three things happened.
Last week, Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984. The news hooks for the video being shown continuously are that this is newly uncovered footage, and that the pain killers he used during his recovery started him on the road to addiction that led to his death.
Yesterday, Howard Kurtz of CNN’s Reliable Sources had Nightline’s Terry Moran as a guest. Kurtz asked Moran why Nightline had opened with Michael Jackson stories on 13 of 15 shows during the past few weeks. Kurtz wondered if the story could possibly be the most important on all of those nights. Moran hedged a little, then admitted that the most important stories are the ones that viewers think are the most important stories. Kurtz stopped pushing the point, and I’m still pondering.
Also yesterday, Don Henley’s song Dirty Laundry came on the radio. Not great art, but it is a good example of pop music as social commentary. No doubt informed by the Eagles’ years in the spotlight, the song sure seems to fit some of the Michael Jackson coverage:
I make my living off the Evening News
Just give me something–something I can use
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry…
We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde
Who comes on at five
She can tell you ’bout the plane crash
With a gleam in her eye
It’s interesting when people die
Give us dirty laundry…
Dirty little secrets
Dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybody’s pie
We love to cut you down to size
We love dirty laundry
Now here’s the interesting connection: When I went looking for those lyrics, I discovered that Lisa Marie Presley covered Dirty Laundry on her second album in 2005. It was the first single released from the album. If anyone knows something about media airing dirty laundry—particularly the posthumous kind—there are few others I can think of who are better qualified.
POTUS was launched in September 2007 as a groundbreaking radio channel devoted full-time to covering the election of the next POTUS (President of the United States). It did such a good job that the channel has continued after the election, morphing into POTUS – Politics of the United States.
The timing for POTUS could not have been better, as it ended up covering what might have been the most interesting Presidential campaign in American history. For people who wanted to hear consistently intelligent, fun, unbiased, unfiltered coverage—including the small but significant stories the networks might not have room for—the media outlets that mattered were POTUS, C-SPAN, and maybe the Stewart-Colbert Axis of Comedic Truth on Comedy Central.
As for the George Foster Peabody Awards, they:
Recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by TV and radio stations, networks, producing organizations, individuals and the World Wide Web.
Maybe my earlier message was too soft, maybe the Peabody judges don’t read Mass Media Report. Or maybe XM Radio did not enter POTUS in the competition.
In any case the Peabody Awards for 2008 have been announced. A lot of worthy winners, including CNN for its coverage of the Presidential campaign:
With state-of-the-art technology and a small army of reporters, producers and analysts, CNN gave viewers unparalleled coverage of a historic presidential election process.
(For those who did watch the CNN coverage, it’s hard to tell whether the really strange “hologram” gimmick on Election Night worked for or against them in winning the award.)
But no Peabody for POTUS.
Awards don’t necessarily mean that much (unless you win one), but recognition for POTUS would have signaled that there are still media frontiers being explored, even in “old media” like radio. It’s not as if the media arbiters can afford to be jaded, as in “well, this is just another one of the many broadcast channels successfully devoted to 24/7 coverage of to the major event of 2008.” There was only one.
To XM Radio, if you did enter the Peabody Awards competition, you were robbed. If you didn’t enter, well, too bad, but there may still be some competitions left, so keep pushing. To those media judges considering who to honor for “distinguished achievement and meritorious public service,” you can find it at Channel 130 on XM Radio.