We blogged about this topic last week and at the risk of mirroring cable news, which has covered the Anna Nicole Smith story ad nasueum, we’re putting in our two cents.
Anna Nicole Smith died three weeks ago. Her contributions to American society are as follows: Playmate of the Year, 1992, and well, that’s about it. Through a long stream of, er, boobery, Smith claimed headlines in tabloids, allowing her to far surpass any reasonable amount of fame. She married an 89-year old oil tycoon and fought his family for the inheritance. She had a short-lived and freaked out show on E!; she dated a man named Howard Stern (and scores of others, apparently). She gave birth to a daughter at roughly the same time her son died.
In death, her life has continued to be a mockery. No sooner had Anna Nicole passed away, than Web sites were cracking jokes about her. The judge, ruling where she is to be buried, cries and bloviates, looking like cross between Geraldo Rivera and Lance Ito. Pundits are wondering when he’ll get his own cable TV show. Also, Britney shaved her head. Also, Tom Brady knocked up Bridget Moynahan and it made A1 in the Boston Globe.
So cable news has flocked to this story and act more like post-mortem paparazzi than upholders of the fourth estate. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve got to agree with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who asked, “Don’t these people know there’s war on?”
Indeed, AC, indeed.
Since Anna Nicole passed on to the great grotto in the sky, more than 42 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 1000 Iraqis have been killed by violence that permeates every inch of that broken country.
And when Fox News’ Josh Gibson calls reporters like Cooper “snobs” for complaining about the sensationalist media coverage of Smith’s death, it makes me long for the day when the death of a celebrity – no matter how trivial – was news. Smith was no Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan or Saddam Hussein, figures whose deaths garnered significant headlines amid the bloodshed in the Middle East.
So there’s not much spin to complain about here. More the habit of the media to latch on to anything that might make headlines. You could say Fox’s Gibson is spinning NewsCorp’s line by ragging on Fox’s whipping boy du jour, Cooper. You could complain about Judge Larry Seidlin’s irritating grabbing of the spotlight while a family, albeit a dysfunctional one, mourns. You could wish they’d just, for once, leave Anna Nicole alone.
Or you could turn off your TV.