Wednesday, August 8, 2007

And Now, Here's Not The News

With more than twenty years in the business, actor John Cusak was asked if he saw any difference in the way celebrities were covered by the news media. "It's gotten more and more insane," he replied. "Invasive and insane. Now there's not even the pretext that anyone has had to have done anything to get famous. It used to be that at least that someone had an infamous moment. Or they had done something good at some point, or something interesting or successful. Now you can just get into the circuit." Apparently, Cusak isn't the only guy that feels that way:

According to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 87 percent of those surveyed said celebrity scandals receive too much coverage. Only 2 percent responded there wasn't enough coverage. The public put most of the blame for the coverage squarely on the new media, with 54 percent responding that news organizations are at fault; nearly one third (32 percent) blamed the public for paying so much attention to celebrity coverage; 12 percent said the blame should be equally shared between the public and the media."

Look, I can understand the need to unplug the brain once in a while. It's the same insane compulsion that drives health-conscious people tired of tofu and asparagus pizza to suddenly attack Fritos, Twinkies, Big Macs, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Of course, just as too much junk food will rot your teeth, too much junk news will turn your brain into pink jello. Britney and Nicole and Lindsay, oh my.

But it's important to be able to tell the difference between news and celebrity puff pieces, and what separates, let's say, Fox News from "Entertainment Tonight" is that Fox News is nastier. ET interviews TV and movie stars, Fox News showcases bad actors who pretend they're journalists. ET pushes gossip, Fox News catapults the propaganda from the White House. ET overpraises untalented celebrities enjoying their fifteen minutes, Fox deifies dirtbag politicians and pundits who lie to us.

Fox News is a bad sitcom with a loud soundtrack of canned laughter snickering at ugly jokes that weren't funny twenty years ago, and it needs to be canceled.

(click on image to enlarge)