How newsworthy is the media itself?

Tim Russert died recently. He hosted a news/politics show on an American TV network, a show that I’ve admittedly never watched, and he apparently died rather unexpectedly. Sounds sad, like it would be for anyone with a personal connection to him. But I have some honest questions: why have there been three segments on Larry King Live about this? How is it relevant to CNN International’s web or television viewing audience? I don’t get it.

I don’t watch a lot of German TV. In fact, I don’t watch a lot of any TV*, which is included in our cable package as part of our rent (and we pay into the GEZ just like we’re supposed to). But I can’t shake the impression that other cultures wouldn’t flood television or other information sources talking about the death of a person with a similar role.

I mean, do Germans even know the names of their nightly newscasters if you stop them on the street and ask? Maybe they do (but I sure don’t). But I really wonder if this is a particularly American phenomenon. Maybe I’m losing touch with my own roots the longer we live over here, or maybe the limited TV exposure (thanks Mom and Dad) at home growing up didn’t foster a perceived personal connection to the voices and faces in the glowing box. Is this perceived personal connection, or the implication of its existence, a symptom of something very unsettling in modern popular American culture?

I guess what I’m asking is:

  • Have kids grown up with so much television exposure that there is a personal connection to media personalities? Of course it’s a one-way street, so how sick is that? I’m guessing television watching hasn’t decreased at all since the time my skull was still soft, so what are the implications for today’s kids?

  • Is it important for Pfizer, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKlineBeechWellcome and the like that you are fully aware of the Tim Russert tragedy so that you can ask your doctor* about their exciting new product lines designed to keep you — and your other TV-family members — safe from circulatory system problems?

Now that I’m complaining about the media coverage on the media coverage, it feels like I’m part of the problem, and I’m getting a little woozy from looking into that infinite series of mirrors.

Time to head out to the ol’ ballpark. Stay tuned.

this is not just because I’m the son of an English teacher

From a CNN article:

Pop star Boy George was due to appear in court in London on Thursday accused of falsely imprisoning a 28-year-old male escort by chaining him to a wall.

See, there would have been no problem had he simply conformed to accepted principles for imprisoning one’s escorts. I presume he should have chained him to the floor, or used zip-ties or something like that.

From another one:

Police seized Khan last week after he appeared at a student rally at the University of Punjab in Lahore, police said. He had been on the run after escaping from house arrest days after the November 3 emergency order was imposed. He faces anti-terrorism charges.

ol_perve.jpgI thought ol’ buddy Perv was our ally in the war on terror. Strikes me as weird his opposition would face anti-terrorism charges.

I know, I know. I have such high standards and low resistance to hairsplitting.

But somebody does get paid to write this stuff.