Sunday, July 22, 2018

Anna Nicole Smith and Journalistic Integrity Mourned

by Wild Bill (writer), Around this place, February 18, 2007


After the tragic passing of Anna Nicole Smith and her son under less than conspiratorial circumstances, the media world has be ravaged with a virtual plague of front page news articles that is only now waning in the setting sun of a new week. It reminds one of an Alaskan winter when the sun refuses to set, but bores into the psyches of those
forced to endure it. But, along the lines of the Mrs. Smith, no one has asked the question that has constantly been gnawing ferociously at the back of my mind like some ravenous femur monkey on heroin withdrawal: who cares?

I don't mean to come across as an uncaring, Nazi sympathizing, child-murdering nihilist. Maybe I am. Yet, I still ask, who really cares? Why have we devoted so much news coverage to such a trivial, unremarkable subject? Have we become so celebrity addicted that we need to cram whatever menial modicum of drivel that crawls out of that cesspool of glitz down our mouth or die of dehydration? Are we so obsessed and, better yet, lifeless, apathetic of our own apparently worthless existences, to dedicate so much news to a woman who's only claim to fame is her ability to strip off her clothes and dive for shrimp on the billionaire cruise line? I beg one to answer one thing: what has this woman done for society to deserve this magnitude of coverage. And, if you say her reality television show or Naked Gun 331/3: The Final Insult, I'll challenge you to a no holds barred fistfight. Knives if you want. Hell, I'll even up it to chainsaws.

I think, more than anything else, society should be outraged at such an audacious display of professional journalism gone awry. Where is the news coverage on the hundreds of innocents dying daily in Darfur? The ethnic power struggle developing into war in Somalia? Russia's blatantly overt climb through the grasp of Putin away from a democratic state? China's harvesting of prisoner's organs without permission? The very war that rages right now, funded by this very nation, against an allusive, faceless enemy that appears to those, not punch-drunk with nationalistic denial, as a fight that we may wage for the rest of our lives? Why do those headlines not bombard us in a daily onslaught of reality that shakes us to core? Oh, that's right, we still don't know how Anna Nicole Smith died. Sometimes a scale isn't enough to show how ludicrous off balance things can become.

Journalistic credibility is a gladiatorial sport of mental strength and culpability. But, sometimes, when society becomes swept up with an inconsequential wave such as this, the sport becomes nothing but a petty cockfight with no real winner, neither the readers, nor the journalists. Even Mrs. Smith.

Yet, the newspaper sales, like free drinks at a singles' dance, flow like a waterfall. And, yet, I ask who holds the corporations that own the newspapers, which still sell in record numbers, accountable for their miscarriage of information to the public if either side, society and journalists alike, is willing to wallow in mediocrity and merely accept what they're fed, asking:

"Please, sir, may I have some more?"

About the Writer

Wild Bill is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on Anna Nicole Smith and Journalistic Integrity Mourned

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By Ariel on February 18, 2007 at 11:11 pm
Agreed. Seen from Los Angeles, it seems like Anna Nicole Smith stopped the war in Iraq. (Maybe that's why she's getting the headlines?)
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By Steve Worldcitizen on March 02, 2007 at 05:54 pm
This is the flipside of media manipulation ( ). On the one hand, people would rather read about Playboy models and celebutantes than about ethnic power struggles or developing dictatorships far away. On the other hand, even those who are more concerned with public discourse can be easily distracted by ongoing coverage of media "celebrities", or even by meaningless coverage of real news. For example, when President Bush was beating the war drums and manufacturing reasons to invade Iraq, there were plenty of stories in the news about Iraq. Just very few with any useful perspective. When the public's mood was not receptive to perspective, perspective was cut out of the media. Raising the level of the public discourse requires more than just good journalism. It requires a combination of a well-educated populace, and a respect for journalism and integrity from the publishers on down to the public. Yes that's idealistic, but it's good to know what we aim for.
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By Pilgrymm on March 02, 2007 at 06:25 pm
I am seriously tired of this Anna Nicole drama. The only interesting thing about it is that my fiance was at the hard rock hotel the day she died, and my fiance had pneumnonia just like Anna Nicole. She really freaked out.
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By Rolandowictz on March 03, 2007 at 11:42 am
Perhaps the premise of your story is true...You should become more familiar with other news/information: "It reminds one of an Alaskan winter when the sun refuses to set, but bores into the psyches of those forced to endure it." I believe in fact you are referring to the "Alaskan Summer". DOH
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By Wild Bill on March 03, 2007 at 11:50 am
Yeah, I know. There's two serious grammatical errors too which annoyingly nibble at my nuts. If you read my profile, I wrote this while half way through a bottle of Jack. I think I handled it pretty well considering it was my first article, and it's received this much attention, regardless of the putrid the subject manner.
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By Wild Bill on March 03, 2007 at 11:52 am
And two more in that statement too. The public school system graduates another winner.
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