Archive for June, 2009

Automatic Systematic
June 25, 2009

I covered the Jackson story today.
 
No, not that one, not Michael.
 
The report I worked on addressed the dire financial condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.  In case you’re interested, Miami-Dade County’s public hospital is running out of money, and mobilizing to find a way to reverse a dire financial trend.  That has a potential life-altering impact on hundreds of thousands of our neighbors.
 
But then the gloved-one Jackson, the one that grew from adorable child pop prodigy to surgically altered, issue-plagued pop icon, suddenly died.  There’s the new lead, that’s a no-brainer, and oh, just the start. For the rest of the foreseeable future (which in the news business is usually no more than a few hours), Jackson’s death is the lead, the team coverage, the live satellite hookup, the analysis, the speculation, the predictions and for some news organizations, the whole darn program.   Tabloid and News merge, even more than they usually do.  Even the nightly political talk shows on cable are wall-to-wall Jackson.
 
Initially, I believed this might be one of those moments in history when we music-loving Americans would share a communal emotion, bonded and brought together by a sudden, sad event in our common culture.  But I’m not sure that’s happening.  
 
I guess you could say Michael Jackson is my generation’s Elvis, a man who made history, talented in the music and moves department, style-defining, controversial in various ways, self-destructive, able to draw cult-like masses both drawn to him and repelled.  There was even that prescription medicine issue. 
 
A little Milberg trivia: Michael Jackson’s mid-’80’s Victory Tour concert at the Orange Bowl (also RIP) was my first official date with the man I eventually married (and he got killer seats).
 
But here’s the real reason I write this blog entry: Barb, my favorite Webmeister, wanted a blog entry on Jackson, no doubt for the click-inducing headline.
 
Only my story was about the wrong Jackson.
 
RIP Jackson.   Michael, that is.