When did we become a society so obsessed with celebrity? Or rather, when did the various news outlets become so obsessed with telling us what Lindsay Lohan’s first meal in jail is going to be? When did the news stop being about news? Some think the internet is to blame. Now, mind you, being a frequent blogger, I am big proponent of the internet as an outlet for people to share their viewpoints on a variety of subjects. However, it seems with the proliferation in the popularity of sites like TMZ and perezhilton.com, the hunger for celebrity news/gossip has now crossed over into the mainstream news arena.
I’m not saying that the news shouldn’t have any stories on celebrities. Hell, you need that kind of fluff to break up the monotony of depressing stories of various calamities occurring around the world at any given moment. The problem I’ve found is that REAL news is being put on the back-burner so that we can learn whether or not Christina Aguilera’s baby is going to be a boy or girl. That is not news, and should only be relegated to the likes of “Access Hollywood” or “Entertainment Tonight,” not CNN or MSNBC. When O.J. Simpson was charged for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, that’s news. When Martha Stewart goes to jail for insider trading, that’s news. Even when Britney Spears loses her mind, shaves her head and goes postal with an umbrella, that to me is a guilty pleasure that I consider news worthy. There is a place for celebrity stories in the news, the problem I have is having to sift through the incessant celebrity gossip stories to see what is going on with the BP oil spill.
It’s a bizarre phenomenon that has taken place over the past decade in mainstream news. Sure, you can turn over to the BBC to get your pure, uncut news fix, but is it so much to ask to get REAL news from our own country? Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about why there is so much celebrity fluff on the news, and I keep coming back to 9/11. The fact that we were inundated with so many horrendous visuals during that time period, it makes me wonder if the news stations felt the need to make things “lighter.”
At the risk of making a terrible analogy, think of the news as a cup of coffee. The REAL news being the untouched, robust mug of French Roast. Then you add cream and sugar, aka the celebrity drivel. That cream and sugar changes the whole dynamic of the coffee, and before you know it, your pure French Roast has been taken over, sullied by the cream and sugar, and you can hardly taste the ACTUAL coffee anymore. Well, I think it’s time to go back to drinking black coffee. After all, who doesn’t want a little more hair on their chest? Apparently, I’m not the only one sick of the celebrity news saturation because according to a study conducted by the “Pew Research Center for the People and Press” in 2007, 40% of the public thought that celebrity news gets too much attention from the media.
We’re all big boys and big girls right? Sure, there are horrible calamity’s that take place on a daily basis around the globe, but it’s reality, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to handle that. If you don’t want REAL news to harsh your buzz, turn over to E! or watch a rerun of “The Real Housewives of New York City.” For the rest of us, it’s time we demand that our news be actually newsworthy again instead of the facade that is has seemingly become.