Friday, June 26, 2009

Iran OUT - Michael Jackson IN

Michael Jackson, I'm sure you know by now, died age 50 in LA yesterday. If you watched news programs during the day, you'd have thought the world had ended. The oppression of the Iranian people by the Islamic regime? The Islamic dictators' latest demands for the execution of the protest leaders? Not worth a mention on primetime news. Iran: OUT! Who cares when a pop star dies? Michael Jackson: IN.

The BBC World (more or less the only English language news program I consider worth watching) in yet another lapse of judgment wheeled out the author of a book about Madonna (sic!) in order to waffle on about Michael Jackson. After all, expertise in speculating at book length about one celebrity surely provides you with expertise about any other celebrity, particularly a dead one. Uri Geller, a 'close friend' of Michael Jackson's bored people to death with useful, analytical information about Jackson being 'now in a better place'. I'm sure Geller is going to bend yet another spoon in Jackson's memory. Jackson's family lawyer, undoubtedly beginning a cottaging industry of conspiracy and other theories of causes of death, told the world that Jackson died on pain killers. At least there's trained lawyers to inform us about what really happened, that is prior to any autopsy. Much like in the aftermath of Lady Di's untimely demise fans went into overdrive, crying hysterically and declaring that the world has come to an end.

All of that passed for news. It's not the first time in recent days that the BBC stuffed it up. A few days ago they interviewed (in the aftermath of the Iran election debacle) a London based, female 'Iranian artist' on the election. Much in the spririt of Western reporting about the country's flawed elections and the public uprising in the aftermath, the BBC expected its guest (artists that she was, no less) to say something critical about what was going on in Iran. Instead the woman went on a rhetorical rampage defending the oppressive regime, even refusing to have herself cut short by the BBC's anchorwoman. While this was all kinda funny to watch, truth be told, it makes me wonder about the judgment of those folks in charge at BBC World.

I would completely understand that US based channels switch from Iran to Jackson. Nobody expects serious news coverage from them, they're infotainment outlets. The BBC though, that is painful! Ugh.

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