November 2, 2007

(Entertainment) News

During our conversation last class while we were talking about the issues of gossip news and tabloid sensationalism, I was reminded of the following clip from MSNBC... it's of a news show where the anchor, Mika Brzezinski, refuses to read the lead story regarding Paris Hilton being released from jail. She gets pretty melodramatic about it, and in the beginning of the clip, we see this as a cooperative effort between her and her co-anchors; what frustrates me (and this is sort of off the topic) is that by the end of the clip, her co-anchors are really ribbing her for sticking to this value-statement she's trying to make (one which they egged her on about in the beginning, no less). In any case, however, it's an interesting look into a few things -- first, how the production of "news" occurs in various stages (tv news producers who create the news segment versus television news anchors who present it) and that those who participate in the various stages are not always in agreement with each other, and second, how news really has changed to the point where a story about a celebrity (who is famous for simply being famous) trumps stories regarding politics and, I think, the presidential election.

8 comments:

Jaya said...

Sorry, Paris Hilton takes precedence over not the presidential election, but the war in Iraq. Equally disturbing.

brett said...

Crazy - i watched this video earlier today for the first time, though my doing this was completely unrelated to this post. Currently I am working with Dr. Shyles on research addressing diversity of streaming digital video on internet websites, and this video was one that i downloaded this afternoon. However inessential all that information is for contributing to post discussion, i mention it mainly to emphasize that while i normally try to download as fast as possible, this video caught my attention and i watched it all the way through.

What struck me (and here, please forgive me if i seem to basically parroting jaya) was that we witness the breakdown of the system of production concerning the anchor's evaluation of what "news" is, or rather, what could appropriately be cast AS news on her show. I was trying to remember class discussion as i watched it, though i found i couldn't really evaluate in terms of Boorstin's notion of a "pseudo-event" since there isn't enough information or context about either the paris hilton story or the report on iraq.

I didn't even think about Hall, though! Kudos, Jaya - Hall was our presentation week, and i totally forgot about the production-distribution-cconsumption cycle. I was thinknig about the breakdown of the system of production, and forgot about Hall. crazy.

i guese here, only because there was also a breakdown in the distribution cycle too, is it even possible that we come to witness the breakdown in the system of production.

George said...

I reiterate what I said in class last week. As a people, we would much rather bask in the glow of rich, beautiful, (which is debatable, of course) and shiny than the dark, harsh, and bleeding world we actually live in.
Kudos to that anchorwoman for taking a stand. I wonder if she still has a job.

Through A Retina Darkly said...

It is interesting that this is not a 'hard news' show, not one of the prestigious nightlies. These three are already just there for newsitaintment, a la the O'Reily Factor or Crossfire, etc.

More interesting, the big deal she makes about Paris Hilton as their leading discussion point - the entire video spans an hour according to the clock - actually draws far more attention to the issue than had she just skipped it or read the story and let the two pundits just blow it off.

It reminds me of what Baudrillard says about scandals in postmodern capitalist societies: they permit the injection of morality back into a soulless and a(im)moral system. In this case, making a big deal out of Paris, apologizing, almost an hour later attempting and failing to burn the story in effigy, finally ripping it up. All a ritualized effort to inject a modicum of credibility into an essentially incredulous bit of newsitainment. I think the two guys actually call attention to this: "You aren't a journalist anymore"...then at the end: "Why is she such a journalist?"

Dan said...

One thing that no one else has mentioned regarding this Hilton story is the actual context of it. For a station like MSNBC, I wonder if the focus of the story was not that she was getting out of jail, but because her sentence was reduced from something like 6 months to 48 hours. I would be interested to know what was actually written on that piece of paper that she tore apart, tried to burn, and shredded, to see if the story was about Paris' release or judicial injustice.

JK said...

Wow I actually never saw this clip. I also was very confused by the male's contradicting statements of "You're not a journalist anymore." and then "Why are you such a journalist." This actually made me incredibly angry because I think the male anchors were being condenscending jerks. I admire her and view what she did as a stance for the public. Has any thing come of this since then? I'm assuming she wasn't fired. I'd love to know if her actions had any repercussions- careerwise. Celebrities in the news honestly disgust me. I would have done the exact same thing the woman did and I think the men took away from her actions by saying things such as "oh you're making a great statement, way to stand up and make a statement." I honestly dont know how she kept herself as collected as she did. I think burning the paper was a big much, but good for her for not giving into the pressure. I honestly do not understand society's obsession with celebrity life.
This really does bring up a great point- what is journalism anymore? Should jouranlists take the lead in changing society's values? I understand that this concept is not one that would happen any time soon, but perhaps overtime if the news stopped reporting such irrelevant garbage, society would change for the better.

Meg said...

Oh my God! I think "Joe" is an ass! and he totally interrogated Mika, and I was beginning to think the whole thing was staged!!

Medea said...

i could also read this as part of the publicity package scripted and produced by the news channel. In a year, where popular shows like THE VIEW has received so much publicity with the scandels that it presented...this show seems to just follow the band-wagon! I agree with Dr. Coonfield...this show definitely seems to be a 'ritualized effort' to gain TRP ratings!