Thursday, June 25, 2009

Memo to CNN: just beat it

For Larry King, Jackson's death was all about...Larry King.
Highlight at 5:03: "He loved little boys, he loved to play with them...there was nothing sexual about it." Uh, OK.

CNN used to be the leader in breaking news.

Having watched the network's Michael Jackson coverage for most of the evening, I must ask: wha' happened?
  • CNN seemed shockingly slow at declaring Michael Jackson dead, and very suspicious of the story, which is weird, considering that it had already been confirmed by the LA Times and NBC News half an hour to an hour earlier.
  • Not long after, a CNN anchor interviewed one of those goofballs from TMZ, and actually asked him, "What are your sources telling you?" Uh, CNN, what are YOUR sources telling you?
  • Wolf Blitzer repeatedly called the Jackson song "Black AND White." Can "Bobby Jean" be far behind?
  • As part of a CNN roundtable, pundit Jeffrey Toobin was one of the few who seemed reluctant to call Jackson a "genius," and highlighted his coverage of the Jackson pedophile trials instead. The anchor (the woman in the video, above, is filling in for Lou Dobbs; oddly, her name is never mentioned) suddenly stops Toobin in mid-sentence, and cuts away for a puffball interview with Larry King (above). When they return to the roundtable: no Toobin. Did he jump or was he pushed?
  • Finally, we got some real news with this interview with Brian Oxman, the Jackson family lawyer. At 3:06 in the following video he blames medications and says, "The people who have surrounded him have been enabling him. If you think that the case of Anna Nicole Smith was an abuse, it was nothing in comparison to what we've seen taking place in Michael Jackson's life." Wow, that's news!
  • Until the follow-up question comes along: "So, you were able to observe some of these rehearsals and you found him to be in some weakened condition. Is that what you're saying?" Uh, no...that's not what he was saying. Listen, lady, this guy's ready to talk!

  • Possibly the worst of the night, though, has been Larry King, who has never come across as being more self-obsessed and celebrity-crazed. "Stay tuned - we've got Celine Dion and Cher - they'll die one day too!"
Twitter has never looked better.


  1. I haven't been following this story because I don't care too much, but I was wondering if anyone has made parallels to Elvis yet? MJ's death was being discussed at work today and I pointed out that he was the Elvis of the 80's generation.

    Both Elvis and MJ died suddenly and surprisingly (yes people Elvis is f*in dead!)with medication being a possible factor

    Elvis was the King of Rock n' Roll;
    MJ was the King of Pop

    Both artists transcended race barriers- Elvis brought so called "black music" to white audiences; MJ was the whitest black man ever (Rimshot. Chorus of Boos.)

    Despite being the butt of jokes for the last 15 years or so Michael Jackson did have an impact on the industry just like Elvis did some 30 years before. Those type of artists never really die, because their music will always play on. RIP Michael Jackson

  2. Melanie Lee LockhartJune 26, 2009 at 12:54 AM

    Wade - two more:

    Elvis was the father of Lisa Marie
    MJ was (briefly) the husband of Lisa Marie

    On Twitter tonight there was lots of chatter about people who would "always remember" where they were when MJ died, just as they remember hearing about Elvis' death.

  3. I totally forgot the Lisa Marie thing, even though she came up in conversation this afternoon. A couple guys were too busy wondering about who might get the rights to the Beatles catalogue.

    I've never understood the whole "remembering where you were when you heard..." spiel. I can understand it for JFK because that was an assassination of the American President and that's big. But for entertainers who often die prematurely due to their tumultuous lifestyles it just doesn't seem as memorable somehow.

  4. I remember watching Little Rascals as a kid when the news flashed across the bottom of the screen: "Elvis is dead."

    No one broke into "my stories" to tell me more - back then we had to wait until 6 p.m. to find out.

    Of course, it was still Sylvia Kuzyk...some things never change.

  5. Comparisons between MJ and Elvis came around 5ish (I had CNN on while we were making dinner,) and I scoffed at them at first. To me, Elvis was a way bigger deal than Michael Jackson was in the music world. Upon further thought, I would probably agree that they were both very influential.

    Twitter broke this story for me. Actually, I was sitting at my desk here at McKim, and Audra yelled down the hallway "Michael Jackson's dead!" She heard it from Lisagh, who saw it on Twitter. We're all "no way!" At the time, everyone (websites) was just saying "rushed to the hospital," except for TMZ, who tend not to wait for confirmation on stuff if they're 80 % sure it's true.

    As to CNN's coverage, I thought they were going a little crazy when I saw the split screen of SIX people in the round table discussion. Remember when they used to have two, maybe three tops? I remember seeing that made fun of on SNL, but it was really true.

    What capped it off for me, though, was the half-assed tribute in "So you think you can dance." They obviously threw it together at the last minute, and showed like 30 seconds of "Thriller before going to commercial. For a guy who revolutionized dance as muc as MJ did, you think they would have done a little more.

  6. I remembered another Elvis/ MJ comparison: Graceland and Neverland.

    No matter what, this will turn into a media circus with everyone he ever encountered trying to cash in (as alluded to in Kenton's latest post).

  7. A half-assed tribute to Jackson on So You Think You Can Dance?! I'm off to YouTube!


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