Automatic Systematic

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.

2 Responses

  1. This guy is getting way more press than he deserved. I cannot see someone who jumps around on stage and sings (awful) in a falsetto a particularly talented person. Then his personal life has been well documented. He was a strange anomaly at best.

  2. I’m sorry I didn’t catch your latest blog sooner, but better late than never..

    My experience around the whole MJ story was much more enjoyable; probably more like the one you were hoping for yourself- if for no other reason than because you are a fellow music-loving American. And I think it had everything to do with the fact that I currently don’t have cable (and the switch to digital killed my rabbit ears reception). Everything I am exposed to for the time being is online; whether it be Facebook, Twitter, my Google Reader subscriptions (which I caught your blog on), news sites that give me access to material which I am actually interested in exposing myself to… But I had a delightful week listening to memories recounted by MJ’s personal friends, watching most every music video he ever made on youtube, catching the memorial live on CNN and reading the simultaneous live feed of facebook users posts (and laughing about how unintelligent that slice of America was)… And when I read your blog I realized that’s the future. There are several aspects of MJ’s life that I do wish to remember. For me personally I did wish to celebrate his life. And the beauty of this new age of media is that people can surround themselves with what they do care about.

    I recently moved to Los Angeles from Miami and I may have caught the local news here once or twice. It makes me sick to watch and I am much happier without it. Unfortunately for local news I think a lot of Americans are feeling the same way. It is too hard in this new age to provide content that the majority of viewers will find worth their time.. Unfortunately, even if local news was good I’m not sure it’s even possible to get the ratings necessary to stay in business. Nobody’s gonna have a slice of the pie that big anymore…. Sorry for rambling!

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