Sunday, October 06, 2013

Lazy Sunday # 293: Dear Daily Mail

After this week, I doubt there’s anybody left who believes that there remains a single honest journalist in the world.

For several days, we were treated to the spectacle of Cable News talking heads passionately advocate for one side or the other in the US Government Shutdown, often viciously attacking those who didn’t share their opinion.

Saturday night, CNN reported the Seal Team Terrorist takedowns in Africa, with one reporter predicting how the events would inevitably be spun by the Left and the Right. Not a minute later, the CNN anchor began doing exactly note-for-note what had been foretold for his particular side.

Nobody even pretends they’re trying to provide a balanced view anymore or share facts which might put their own worldview in question.

Spin has become so prevalent in every aspect of the media that you literally have no way of knowing what’s real and what’s not.

Perhaps that’s always been the case –- which should make each of us question the foundation of history and beliefs on which we’ve all based our moral and ethical standards.

At any rate, I have come to believe the entire exercise of reporting current events is really about who needs to increase subscribers, sell papers, promote their next book or get you to buy something.

A few weeks ago, following a video awards show, the mainstream media were “outraged” that Hannah Montana had grown up to be a “skank”.

A few days later, Hannah’s alter-ego (Miley Cyrus) was deemed even more immoral, having posed naked on a music video wrecking ball -– although –- y’know, it wasn’t such a bad tune so maybe you oughta spring for an iTunes download anyway.

Shortly thereafter, Rolling Stone jumped to the artist’s defense, being as how rock ‘n roll has always been irreverent and all. And then we learned that Ms. Cyrus was featured on the magazine’s next cover.

Later, and mere days before her appearance as last night’s SNL, the media deathlessly reported her blog/twitter feud with Sinead O’Connor, a previous generation’s troubled rock star, perhaps best remembered for an SNL appearance. Does anybody have any doubt how much that improved the ratings of a hit-and-miss comedy series in a rebuilding season?

To be honest, I don’t really care who’s right or wrong or more mentally ill in the Cyrus/O’Conner death match. What fascinates me is why we invest so much time and energy in events so clearly contrived to distract us from what’s of more import in our lives.

How this cat-fight turns out will make no difference to anyone(probably including the participants). It’s just another tool somebody trying to make a buck uses for their own purposes.

That’s an argument made clear by another Rock Diva, Amanda Palmer, formerly of “The Dresden Dolls”and spouse of writer Neil Gaiman.

Herself a target of the tabloid press last Summer, Ms. Palmer decided to counter the controversy, not by engaging in it, but by giving the media something she knew they couldn’t talk about.

At her next concert appearance, she debuted a musical open letter to the journalists in question. Entitled “Dear Daily Mail”, it tells you everything you need to know about any modern media outlet.

It’s NSFW but eminently capable of helping you –- Enjoy Your Sunday. 

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