The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact the Sundial

Loading Recent Classifieds...

Jackson case distracts from real news

Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson. Is there nothing else going on in the world except for Michael Jackson’s child molestation case?

Forget about the Los Angeles mayoral race. Forget about California’s budget crisis. None of that news, which might actually affect our lives matters, because we have Jacko to worry about right now, and what would we do without all of his shenanigans to keep us entertained?

Whether I’m on my way to school listening to news radio, or spending time with friends and family, somehow Jackson’s case is brought up. A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine was late picking me up because she got so caught up in whether Jackson would make it to court on time that she lost track of time.

As if celebrities don’t already get enough unnecessary attention, we as a society jump at the chance to listen to more titillating stories about them.

Whether you think Jackson is guilty or not, you most likely have an opinion, and you probably came to that conclusion from an extensive knowledge of Jackson’s personal life and what you have heard about the case.

A large portion of society knows more about Jackson’s current situation than of the ongoing struggle between Israel and Palestine in the Gaza Strip. One might point out that this is because Jackson’s case is “local,” and Israel and Palestine are “international affairs,” but I’m curious as to why we never hear about the current court cases of Lee Malvo and John Muhammad, both being tried for the Washington D.C.-area sniper killings in 2002.

I am not trying to diminish the importance placed on child molestation, but I find it illogical that I know more about Jackson’s case then I do about all of the Catholic priests who were charged with molesting children.

Whether it is the judge allowing former cases into the existing case, or Jackson coming to court in his pajamas, there seems to be a never-ending stream of events that make the story a daily topic.

My problem is that I can’t decide whether I am more ashamed of the news outlets themselves for giving on-air updates every 10 minutes, or of our society as a whole, which survives on these types of stories.

As a journalist, I understand that news outlets try to give their viewers, readers and listeners the news that is going to be of most interest to their target audience. But Jackson’s case is not just on featured entertainment news shows or stuck away in the entertainment sections of newspapers.

On many reputable news programs, Jackson at times makes top news, and the segment given to his story is much longer than for the usual “real” news story. In many newspapers, you can find Jackson making the front page.

So the question is, how do we change this? How do we make the majority of Americans more interested in local politics and education, rather than in entertainment and celebrities?

As a journalist, I think the news media can begin moving toward this trend by not reporting on Jackson’s case every 15 minutes, every single day of the week. Leave that to the entertainment sections, and leave the real news, the news that might affect some everyday person’s life, to the main news channels.

More to Discover