Friday, February 1, 2008

Montel Williams

I don't think I've ever seen an episode of Montel Williams' talk show. I've heard of him, have seen him on TV, just never saw his show. A few days ago, I read in the paper that his show was ending after 17 years. Was it low ratings, his MS was getting worse, something else? I didn't know, and particularly didn't care, as I'm not into talk shows.

But then I found this video on DailyKos:

I believe that this was on Saturday. So, mere days after this, his talk show just ends, after 17 years? Several Fox affiliates had declined to pick up the show, from my understanding, and that probably led to the cancellation. And this occurred on a Fox News program.

If it is true, that the cancellation of his show was a retaliatory move for criticizing Fox News's (and in general, the media's) coverage of the war, that is beyond disgraceful. Williams was in the military for 2 decades. If anyone has a right to call out the media, shouldn't it be him?

Williams did little more than echo how I and countless other Americans feel. I remember when 9/11 happened, and I was watching the various news channels for days on end. And one of the recurring comments I kept hearing from news anchors, reporters, guests was that nothing would be the same after 9/11. And they counted the media in that, as in their coverage would change significantly. You weren't going to hear as much about killer sharks and kidnappings, but the hard, relevant news that Americans were going to expect. Our media coverage, and the way that the news is covered, would not be the same.

And they were right, it wouldn't be the same. In the years following 9/11, leading up to the present, when it comes to providing significant coverage of current events and world issues, our media has gotten even worse. From Laci Peterson, Natalie Holloway, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, to Heath Ledger. All of these people, who, let's face it, have no significance in our lives, have gotten wall-to-wall coverage. When Ledger died last week, judging on the news coverage, you'd think the world stopped turning. That's all they were talking about.

Just to clarify, I'm not talking about tabloids, or gossip websites, or Entertainment Tonight. I'm talking about mainstream news outlets, I'm talking about Fox, CNN, ABC News, etc. These are news sources that should be giving these individuals' lives (and deaths) scant coverage, at best. The one guy on Fox News didn't even guess correctly how many U.S. soldiers died in Iraq this month, Montel had to correct him. Why do we not know the names of 5 U.S. soldiers who were killed in action in Iraq, hell, one name would suffice; and yet we can know every last detail of how and when Heath Ledger died, or which hospital Britney Spears is staying at?

So, good for Montel. He's a hero, and it sadly seems that being a hero and acting without fear of consequences in speaking out, cost him his job.

Anyway, a few opinions on the segment. Did anyone else hate that blonde lady? First, she tried justifying the media's responsibility by saying that it's just "feeding the beast." So this woman (and no doubt, her partners on the show) look at their viewers as being one huge beast. They try justifying their coverage by saying that that's what the masses want. And it's bullshit. I've never had a discussion with anybody, and I've never been witness to a conversation, where Health Ledger or Spears or Paris Hilton were the topics of conversation. Not to say that they aren't talked about; but for example, when Ledger died, I'd think the conversation would go like this: "Hey, did you hear Heath Ledger died?" "Yeah, that sucked, he was a good actor, what a waste."

So I think media coverage of an issue or a person should be centered on how much likely discussion they're going to get. I've had many discussions on issues like Iraq, our endangered freedom after 9/11, global warming, and I've also heard many discussions. And they could be quite lengthy and diversified in terms of opinions. So why not spend resources and time on those issues? I could give you many reasons the media won't do this, but this blog's been long enough.

Oh, and one last thing. Did you hear the guy at the end say to Montel, "but he (Ledger) was an icon." Get the hell out of here, LOL. Ledger was a good actor, but he was far from an icon. He's not a James Dean. In 50 years, there won't be many people who can tell you who Heath Ledger was.

Okay, this is really the last thing. Did anyone else laugh when Montel was talking about the soldiers and how he was in the military, and the one reporter said "I was embedded", lol.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually Heath is an icon, his status will be even bigger with the release of The Dark Knight. He's the new James Dean.