Media Overkill

Ever notice how the media engages in major overkill? Some people decide what's truly important by the media coverage it gets. This article is obviously tongue-in-cheek, but the point of media overkill is well made.

Hungry For Overkill

I don't have much time to watch television.  Being the lazy person that I am, I usually let other people in the family do my watching for me.

But some events are just so important that I have to watch them myself.  Such was the case with the finals of this year's American Idol. The space shuttle Columbia crash in Texas earlier in the year was another event that (sadly) I just had to watch.    And I certainly did not want to miss the thrill of seeing the America's Cup sail into Switzerland.

Of course, I regularly turn on the tube whenever a George Bush invades Iraq.  Hopefully, this one will soon finish invading; my electricity bill is suffering.

The latest must-see event is the Michael Jackson arrest, an event of such momentous importance that all news shows, gossip shows, comedy shows and just about everybody else is offering wall-to-wall coverage.  It has been estimated that 37% of the American population has been interviewed by the media for their inside-knowledge of "the pop superstar's" personal life.

So I was most shocked when I flipped to a channel that was not helping me track down the most fascinating intimate details and most intriguing and succulent minutiae of all things Michael Jackson.

"What?!" I demanded.  "This is impossible.  What is this trash?"

"That's Touched by an Angel," my wife offered.  "It's one of your favorite shows."

"That's no excuse," I blustered.  "The network should be hot on the Jackson case.  How could this be?  I'm calling the cable company to complain."

"But dear ..." my wife tried to interrupt.

"It's no use," I insisted as I dialed.  "My mind is made up.  Don't try to stop me."

"But dear ..." my wife tried to interrupt me again.

"I am sorry.  There is simply no excuse for airing pure entertainment when there are important details about Michael Jackson to be uncovered."

"But dear ..." my wife tried once more.

"Hello?  Cable Company?  I want to lodge a most serious complaint."

"But we don't get cable out here," my wife broke in.  "We have satellite TV."

"Oh."

"Look.  There are some 395 channels, and at least 70% of them are airing Michael Jackson stories.  Don't you think that's at least, oh, let's say, 70% overkill?" my wife asked.

"You don't understand.  This is important.  The whole world is watching.  This man has changed the face of music."

"Yes, that's what some of his celebrity colleagues are saying", my wife rolled her eyes.  "As if people who change the face of music have all been vaccinated against child-molesting."

"That's not the point.  There are so many details to uncover.  We know he likes Kentucky Fried Chicken, but does he eat quiche?  Everybody knows that real men don't eat quiche.  Could that be his problem?

"Let it go, Happy Guy," my wife advised.  "It just doesn't pay to get so caught up in all the TV drama.  Besides, this is a serious investigation with a serious charge and it should be left to the authorities."

I sank down into the couch. My wife was finally starting to make sense.  "What are you going to do now?" she asked.

"I think I'll watch Touched by an Angel."

"Ah, that's the husband I know and love."

"Right now Michael Jackson could use an angel, and so could all those kids.  I mean, what can one little district attorney do?" I moaned.

My wife moaned, too.  I was amazed that she would suddenly show such support.

"I know," I said, lighting up.  "Never mind the cable company.  I'll call Tess.  She can set Michael Jackson straight."


The author is David Leonhardt.  Sign up for his weekly satire column up at
http://TheHappyGuy.com/positive-thinking-free-ezine.html or read more columns at http://TheHappyGuy.com/self-actualization-articles.html. 

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