08 July 2009

Shame On You, CNN

OK, so I'm at the gym this morning doing my thing on the elliptical machine; huffing and puffing away and I glance up at the bank of TV's on the wall. The Price Is Right briefly held my attention (somebody should tell Drew Carey that he needs a haircut), I forget what was on the tube next to that but the third one over was tuned to CNN. I was reading the closed captioning and the headlines scrolling along the bottom of the set when they showed a clip from Michael Jackson's memorial service yesterday.

You probably know the clip I'm talking about; Michael's 11-year-old daughter, Paris-Michael, addressed the assembled crowd and millions of people watching around the world. She said she loved her Daddy and missed him very much, then collapsed in tears.

God, how that little girl touched my heart. I know her pain; I know she will have to accept that some questions will go unanswered and she will hurt for a very, very long time. I was amazed she had the wherewithal to speak at all. I did not speak at my father's memorial service; I did not trust my voice.

So after that clip of one distressed, very brave little girl the anchor asks for a CNN poll: "What was your favorite moment of the Michael Jackson memorial?"

That pissed me off and struck me as incredibly crass. Like this memorial service was supposed to be entertaining? It was a tribute to a dead man; a way of honoring his life and a way for his family and fans to say good-bye. Would anybody answer "My favorite part was witnessing a little girl's heartbreak at loosing the only parent she's ever known"?

Did CNN poll viewers for their favorite part of Princess Diana's funeral? What moron would answer "Watching her children cry?"

I did not watch the Michael Jackson memorial, so I don't know what all happened. I've only seen the bit of Paris-Michael. But exploiting this child in the name of a viewer poll is beyond shameless. Her brief statement brought some clarity to this loss. Yes, the public has lost a popular entertainer, but Michael Jackson was more than his public persona. He was a son, a daddy, a friend. My heart goes out to his children.

So, shame on you CNN. Shame. on. you.


Catch Her in the Wry said...

I'm 100% with you on this one.

Looseyfur said...

When the Challenger exploded and I was like -- 10 -- I remember being absolutely pissed off that the news stations kept showing Krista McCauliffe's family members at he launch. They hadn't yet figured out what had happened -- and as it dawned on them you got to see every brutal emotion on her parents' faces.

It was at that moment I learned to despise TV news, and I've never grown out of that disgust.

Mary A. said...

I'm with you about 98% on this one. Perhaps "favorite" was the incorrect word for that particular question. I think they would of been less crass to ask (if they had to ask anything) "What will stay with you forever/touched you/moved you while watching the service?" Then ask "What was your favorite performance at the memorial?" It *was* entertaining but also a loving tribute to the man and his talents and gifts to society.

As part of my job I deal with cable ratings and it has been a bit gross to see the HUGE spike in the ratings that the news networks are getting from the constant coverage.

Shame on us for "needing" to watch this family tragedy play out.

As a side not the word verification I have to enter is my fathers name, who also taken too soon and in an unfair manner.