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Why would any media outlet devote the majority of their website or newspaper to Tiger Woods and his alleged extra marital affairs? I think Bill Maher said it best, “what a bunch of vultures the media are. Who has not left their house at 2:30 in the morning and crashed into their neighbor’s mailbox?”

Every news organizations has reported the Tiger Woods car crash by now, but only the Chinese have recreated the event with glorious CGI animation.

So Angie wrote an interesting piece about the “priorities” of the media, basically the media’s priorities are utterly screwed up focusing on Tiger Woods instead of the 30,000 men and women to be deployed to Afghanistan. Angie and Bill Maher might be right; I have to admit the media at times exhibits crack head like behavior, jonesing for a fix. And once their mind is made up, as we all know, there is no reasoning with a crack head.

But is the media responding to want the people want and crave, therefore people are the real vultures and not the media. Not so long ago the Tiger incident would have never been news, maybe just briefly mentioned in the sport pages or on ESPN. But, we as a cultured changed the ways news is reported and what gets reported. Celebrity scandals have jumped to the forefront of the audience’s circle. In fact, celebrity magazines have become more popular than news magazines or public interest magazines. Celebrities have always been popular, and people have always liked to subscribe to them. However, there has been a trend recently that puts celebrity magazine readership at an all time high.

We have seen this before, The New Proud Tower examines how society and the news changed after 1945. Society became more focused on spectacle than reality. While nearly a million were killed in Rwanda in 1994, the American public hardly noticed. The big story involved allegations of murder against former football star OJ Simpson. TV news became sensationalized and increasingly trivial.

Traditional news is trying to compete for a viewer with a short attention span. News nowadays must be shocking, it must funny, it must be titillating and sexy. That is why Rasmussen reports nearly one-third of Americans under the age of 40 say satirical news-oriented television programs like The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart are taking the place of traditional news outlets.

Plus, people are addicted to celebrity gossip because it makes them feel good. Many people have stressful, busy lives; knowing the latest celebrity news or Hollywood gossip gives them a pleasurable rush. Unfortunately, sensationalism, not news, sells. When making a buck is the bottom line, news becomes passe.

Mic Nell writes, The pedestal on which we have put movie stars, sports figures, and famous people could give some people neck strain. We idolize them, follow their every move, and treat them as modern gods. There is a giant media subculture around the cult of personality. Gossip and news about the rich and famous is big business. Magazines like People and Us Weekly, TV shows like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, and a long list of blogs such as Gossip Girl, TMZ.Com, and Perez Hilton have captured our imagination. More specifically, the celebrities on which they report have. These days, there are more celebrity magazines than real news mags in the United States. Simply go to a grocery store to see how obsessed America is with our neo-royalty.

Tim Berry wrote back in the old days, editors decided what was news, not advertisers and not readers. There was this concept called “news values.” Not so anymore, its not news it’s entertainment and we only have ourselves to blame. So I’m thinking, don’t shoot the messenger if you don’t like the message, shoot the source that wants it.


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