Terri Schiavo. Jessica Lunsford. Steriods. Martha Stewart’s homecoming. Fiddy and The Game beefing… These have been the top stories of the last few weeks. It makes you wonder if with the countless cable outlets and radio talk stations, the bazillion bloggers, and print mob, why isn’t there more diversity of news topics.
I mean, I feel bad for Terri Schiavo, but there’s a couple dozen Terri Schiavos in ever hospital in every town in every state every single day. A couple dozen at least. Yet, all involved single out this particular case to champion and cover. Why her? Is it because it’s Florida and somehow this might be JEB Bush’s pet project or a chink in his armor? Is it because of what Terri Schiavo used to look like before she got sick? (ie. “the girl next door”). What makes her life worth so much more than all the other women, men and children who suffer through similar cases year in and year out?
And in GWB and the Dems grandstanded all over this one, just answer me one question: What about next time? What are we gonna do for the next Terri Schaivo—you know the one… The one who wasn’t so cute, the one who was maybe a little fatter or older or more ethnic or poorer… What about that woman or man? Is everyone gonna hold a vigil for them? Will congress step in to save their life or plug their plug? Will the next case get round the clock coverage and spark public debate?
Next, I have a hard time believing that Jessica Lunsford was the only missing child in America. As with every white girl or woman or child that goes missing in America, Jessica got neat-round the clock media coverage and was hailed as the girl “next door” (code for “white”). It’s as if we’ve all accepted the fact that missing Black, Hispanic and Asian girls are somehow so much less valuable that we don’t cover their cases or mourn their found bodies or comfort their heartbroken parents.
You know, just once I’d like to see Rita Cosby or Nancy Grace or Aaron Brown or somebody at least pretend that it’s at least possible for the “girl next door” to be darker than a suntan. Just once. I’d like for the Amber Alert to be sounded for someone who doesn’t look like an “Amber” or a “Becky” or a “Billy”. Just once.
And then there’s the Steriods. On Capital Hill. Congressional Hearings for Steriods… Are you kidding me?! First off, I remember the Tobacco hearings back in the day when all those poison pushers got up infront of Congress and took the 5th and our congressfolks (who take campaign contributions from these companies) acted like they were being productive. Same deal with those trifling CEOs who took the 5th a few years back... Congress is just a joke. As for the field of dreams:
Baseball’s been corrupt ever since the Black Sox scandal of 1919, ever since they banned blacks from playing until 1947 thus giving every white ballplayer a 50 year head-start, ever since the league built smaller ballparks in the late 1980s to increase homeruns, ever since the league authorized juiced balls in the early 1990s…
Baseball’s been doped up in one form or another for a long, long time. This is not news.
Maybe Barry B.’s juiced. Maybe not. Maybe McGwire’s juiced. Maybe Ken Caminitti was right, like Lyle Alzado years before him. Maybe lots of guys in lots of sports are on roidin’ it up. )Even tennis great John McEnroe admitted to taking steroids while he played.) And if they are this is not news. What’s news is everyone who’s playing dumb and feigning outrage or acting like it’s all the players’ fault.
From managers, coaches, owners and trainers to sportswriters and media who looked the other way as the muscles grew inexplicably bigger and the records fell inexplicably fast to the fans who blindly cheered and consumed in the face of the obvious, none of these guys acted alone. Not one. They all had help.
The real news begins the moment they start rounding up the accomplices. Speaking of news…
Then there’s Martha Stewart. She get out of jail, complains about her low-jack anklet and suddenly she’s Sojourner Truth?! Lookit, she got off easy. She lied to the Feds. She took insider tips from Sam Waksal, her boyfriend and ImClone CEO, who’s still in prison for this by the way. In fact there were 4 people involved in this: Stewart got 5 months, all the guys are serving 3-7 years. Minimum. So to everyone who thinks she got off easy: SHUT. UP.
And then there’s the obligatory “black” story. You better believe that whenever the media decides to put black folks on TV, it’s never good. 50 Cent and The Game? That was nothing more than press releases, photo-ops and the same corporations who control the news making money for their entertainment and record divisions and other corporate alliances.
The only real news that’s been covered recently was the Brian Nichols and Tim Weise tragedies. But it’s interesting how the utter incompetence of law enforcement in Atlanta has been is downplayed in favor of elevating Ashley Smith to sainthood—a role she clearly wants no part of. (Full disclosure: “Purpose Driven Life" is my favorite book ever. Honest.) As for Jeff Weise of Red Lake, Minnesota… A Native America Nazi who praised Adolph Hitler. Lemme say that again: A Native America Nazi… That’s like a brotha joining the Klu Klux Klan. If you put Mel Brooks, Dave Chappelle and the South Park guys in a room with a pound of weed, they couldn’t have cooked that one up on their best day.
When is the press gonna change? How many stories are they gonna continue to ignore in the name of ratings, politics, follow-the-pack coverage and appeasing corporate interests? How much longer will we be stuck listening to pundits with no track record to speak of be hailed as pundits just because of their connections and their ability to tow the company/party line? And criminals aside, for God’s sake, how long is the cultural and racial bias that drives media outlets to label some stories worth more than others going to continue?
By the way: Aren’t we supposed to be at war someplace? Where’s Bin Laden? Are we even looking for WMD anymore? What’s the body count for AIDS these days and didn’t a new, deadlier strain pop up about 4 weeks ago? Didn’t Congress okay a whole bunch of money for more wars? And didn’t Congress just pass a law making it harder than ever for average folks to declare bankruptcy? Isn’t gas like 50 Bucks a barrel and climbing? Aren’t we somewhere enforcing our views on some country smaller than us?
Isn’t there some actual news being overlooked as we speak?
Hadji Williams. Ex-Marketing Hustler. Current Troublemaker and author of KNOCK THE HUSTLE: How to save Your Job and Your Life from Corporate America. (May 2005) www.knockthehustle.com // www.barnesandnoble.com