Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

Snubbing entertainment news makes me a snob

An article by St. Pete Times’ Eric Deggans explains that there is news behind the tabloid lives of Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith.

In Spears’ case, we have one of the world’s best-known pop singers melting down before the public’s eye – a woman with two kids, millions of dollars and multitudes of fans who still can’t conquer her own personal demons.

Everyone has personal demons. Is the fact that even celebrities with lots of money don’t have their lives together either really newsworthy? And if it is newsworthy, is it worthy of the coverage it’s been getting?

Smith, a 39-year-old professional train wreck of a celebrity, died unexpectedly – under circumstances similar to the death of her 20-year-old son five months earlier. She’s left an estate potentially worth $400-million to a 5-month-old daughter who at least three men claim to have fathered, kicking off a legal battle over where Smith should be buried.

This I think has more substance. The legal issues and the similarity of her death to her son’s could be exploited into real news. But 24-hour coverage? Never.

Deggans says there are two major problems with news coverage: Traditional gatekeepers are failing, and coverage is desperate, unimaginative and lazy.

I don’t notice a lack of what I want to know. But perhaps my dependency on RSS for news reveals a gap in traditional coverage.

Fox News host John Gibson thinks I’m a snob. I’d rather know about the war in Iraq, but Think Progress documented this comment:

He accused reporters — such as CNN’s Anderson Cooper — of “news-guy snobbery” and attacked them for covering the Iraq war. Mocking Cooper, he said, “Oh, ‘There’s a war on! There’s a war on!’ Maybe, just maybe, people are a little weary, Mr. Cooper, of your war coverage, and they’d like a little something else.”

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