20 August 2006

Why the TV newscasts are focused on the Ramsey case

TV Media all over JonBenet's Corpse, while discarding treatment to critical stories on Constitutional issues.
In a media system dominated by entertainment conglomerates, it's no accident that we're served up a steady stream of "top" stories saturated by sex, violence and celebrity: OJ, Princess Di, JonBenet, JFK Jr., Condit/Levy, child abductions (especially upper-middle class blonde girls), Laci Peterson, the runaway bride, the missing teen in Aruba, etc.

Let's face it: The Murdochs and Disneys and Time Warners and GEs that own our media system much prefer a nation of mindless consumers and spectators over a nation of informed, active citizens. They like the fact that avid TV viewers know all the intimate details about the JonBenet or OJ murder cases - and almost nothing about how big corporations lobby against middle-class interests in Washington.

Best of all to TV news managers, tabloid stories are cheap to cover, especially when pundits or legal experts can fill up hours of time with their (often ridiculously wrong) speculation. And these are stories that can't possibly offend powerful forces in Washington, or advertisers.

Over the last few days, anytime I heard radio hosts devote time to the Ramsey case, I impulsively, instinctively and immediately toggled the tuner to dial in another station. Really, some mentally unbalanced kook cries out a obviously suspect confession (given the truth of the case and his travels), and that moves all other news off the plate? And where is the media at in all the rest of abhorrent child murder cases. Or is the lavish attention just for rich white girls?

Cohen is correct — these sorts of stories are treasured by the media barons — they are cheap to cover and there is no risk of offending powerful interests by digging into controversial issues.


There is no conspiracy here, I think the reason the news media is focused on JonBenet's Corpse is because the American people are interested in the JonBenet story. Americans like us, who really care about politics, are in the minority.

With the internet, CNN and Fox and other news stations can determine by user clicks, which stories get the most press, and so which stories to focus on, and which to ignore.

Your comments remind me of something Ward Churchill said:


You are blaming the American media for apathy. When in reality most Americans are apethitic, nonpolitical people who simply don't care.

Life is generally good in America. Americans are fat, they have a lot of material goods, and many still believe in the American dream. Until a major disaster personally happens in their life, they dont give a flying fuck about some arcane bill moving through congress, they don't give a fuck about who we kill and how we kill them to keep their standard of living high. The sad thing is, Americans are not alone in being apethetic creatures: it is human nature.

Hotel Rwanda:

Scene two

[Jack is showing Fleming footage he acquired of the genocide and Paul overhears.]

Fleming: What is this?

(Jack Daglish puts tape into VCR and then looks at Paul. He hesitates as they make eye contact and then exits. Fleming begins to view tape. He picks up the phone and dials a number.)

Fleming: (over his shoulder to Rwandan) Where did you get this?

Rwandan: Half a mile down the road.

Fleming: (into phone) Fred, itís David. Iíve got incredible footage. Itís a massacre--dead bodies, machetes. If I get this through right away, can you make the evening news? (He pauses to listen.) Yeah. (He pauses again.) You have to lead with this.

(Scene cuts to the hotel lobby, where Jack Daglish is sitting with a lady. Paul enters.)

Paul: Excuse me, Mr. Daglish.

Jack Daglish: Hey, Paul. Listen, sorry about earlier. If Iíd known you were in there, I wouldnít haveó

Paul: I am glad that you have showed this footage, and the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance, that people might intervene.

Jack Daglish: "And if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show? "

Paul: "How can they not intervene, When they witness such atrocities?

Jack Daglish: "I think if people see this footage, they'll say, 'Oh my God that's horrible,' and then go on eating their dinners." [http://www.thesource4ym.com...]