CNN = Celebrity News Network?
Our love of celebrity culture has gone too far.
One of CNN's recent
headlines indicated Brooke Shields has accepted a face-to-face apology
from Tom Cruise for his extremely public criticism of her decision to
use anti-depressants to combat the severe post-partum depression she
experienced after giving birth to her first child. It was a real CNN Headline. The marriage of our celebrity watching culture to our addition to 24 hour cable news has produced a nasty child. That child is the fact that insignificant celebrity chatter becomes cable news headlines which drone on for days.
This Brooke Shields/Tom Cruise battle has, of course, gone on for more than a year now. When
Cruise went on his PR nightmare of a crusade last year, his
anti-psychiatry rants and couch-jumping antics were delicious fodder
for media wolves for weeks on end. Media
analysts and so-called "experts" dissected each of his sentences and
actions blaming everything from Scientology to his upbringing to his
own celebrity status for his sudden frenzied media outburst.
Another media bastard-child is "Mel's Meltdown." Mel Gibson's DUI arrest and subsequent anti-Semitic rants STILL make headlines. Cable news analysts gave viewers hours of commentary on Mel's fall from grace. They "broke the story" on Mel's past battles with alcoholism. They had Jewish organizations on who condemned the actor, vowing to boycott any of his future films. They
had Jewish organizations on declaring their support for the troubled
actor, offering forgiveness and extending the proverbial olive branch. News of Mel reaching out to various Jewish leaders bumped
out of the headlines. Just as the Mel fire died down, it was time for
his plea and sentencing, stoking the fire and here we go again. Has Mel really changed? Find out tonight at 10! Hours
and hours of coverage of what amounts to a DUI arrest from a bigoted
actor who made a movie about Jesus… and also those Lethal Weapons
movies… and Braveheart.
Angelina Jolie scores major headlines whether she's traveling the world on behalf of the United Nations or giving birth. Of
course, her work for the U.N. gets a few minutes worth of coverage
while her choice to give birth to her daughter in Africa gets hours of
discussion about her motives, the statements she may or may not be
trying to make, the conditions of the hospital she gave birth in, the
qualifications of the doctors, whether she flew in her own doctors and
equipment, whether that's good for local residents, how the paparazzi
has been banned from the country and so forth. All of this coverage for the birth of a child, whose parents are two of the hottest
24-hour cable news networks certainly serve a purpose. It's convenient to turn to any of the channels to catch up on what's happening around the world. When something "newsworthy" is developing, the ability to watch the scene unfold feels both exciting and dangerous. With
the state of politics and relations in the world, the need to develop a
global understanding of events now nears critical mass. Unfortunately,
the public shrugs off important information, which apparently brings
the burden of responsibility, for more light-hearted fare, which
requires less thought and inspires no action. Besides, who cares about what's happening in