SHOCKING” Why I still hate celebrity gossip shows

There have been complaints for years about blurring the line between “real” news and entertainment. The producers say people want entertainment news which includes celebrity gossip. Some of it is factual and can be “news” but a lot more is worthless except to fill up time. A series of incidents, over the years, led me to stop watching “entertainment news” shows all together.

It started with “A Current Affair” back in 1986. Where the grocery store tabloids started to be used as content on television. Then other respectable news shows about entertainment – like “Entertainment Tonight” – emulated that style.

Some starlet being arrested for DUI was “SHOCKING” or some actor’s mental problems were “EXCLUSIVELY” told on one of the shows. Then you had hosts who last worked as weather readers on some obscure TV station breathlessly interviewing a “friend” of a celebrity who had more “SHOCKING” personal problems… and on and on and on.

I was a long time viewer of “Entertainment Tonight” because of the actor interviews, coverage of upcoming movies, movie trailers, and hard news about the industry (news when it was factual and relevant).

Then that all changed.

The first incident was the death of actress Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989. A stalker had murdered the young television star. “Entertainment Tonight” (“ET”) did respectful stories about then unknown problem of stalking and how Schaeffer’s life was cut short. The series of stories lasted as long as the normal grieving process for those not blood relatives – about a week or so. They also did follow up stories as the criminal case of the killer went through the system.

Ten years later there were a series of incidents involving actor Brad Pitt and a stalker. A young woman kept getting arrested after breaking into his home. The last time she was caught in his house wearing some of his clothes. Luckily Pitt was not there at the time.

I expected the same type of factual reporting on “ET” as happened when Rebecca Schaeffer was killed. By this time “ET” had changed into a trashy tabloid type show but I was still “SHOCKED” when they cross promoted an “EXCLUSIVE” interview with Pitt’s stalker on the old Leeza Gibbon’s daytime talk show! Gibbon’s show was giving the criminal stalker an hour of air time to stroke her ego and tell the world how much as just had to be with the actor.

I threw up a little in my mouth. I changed the channel and have never watched “ET” or shows like it since.

Flash forward 10 more years and it seems much worse. “ET” is even more trashy and is joined with shows like “Extra” and “The Insider”. Not only do they still report breathlessly on the personal failings of celebrities, but they report on manufactured celebrities like the Kardasians and Paris Hilton among others. They now have “Z” list celebrities hosting the shows and interviewing their “colleagues” as if they have a psychology degree as if we should care how some one is dealing with obesity or whatever personal demon is lurking within them.

An argument can be made that a celebrity talking about something serious like drug addiction or domestic violence can lead us regular folks to get help or what not. I agree celebrities can shed light on serious topics of interest to the general public but it should be done in a appropriate setting with real experts or professionals interviewing them – not talking to some failed celebrity hosting a gossip show.

A recent topic on the “The Insider” and one on “Extra” reinforced my decision to not watch these trashy shows if at all possible (I need to change the channel quicker *sigh*).

The other day one of the “The Insider” “hosts” asked “Should John Edwards be wearing an orange jump suit?” Edwards is the former Presidential and 2004 VP candidate who got into a mess when it was revealed he had an affair with a staff member. The question asked was related to the fact that Edwards tried to cover-up the affair.

Covering up an affair is not criminal unless he had someone murdered or committed some other crime. In fact marital issues are and should be private personal matters for everyone including those in the public eye.

On “Extra” they had “EXCLUSIVE” video of actor Nick Nolte dumpster diving in an alley in Hollywood. The voice over breathlessly asked “Is Nick Nolte down and out for real?” playing on one of his most memorable film roles as a homeless man in the movie “Down and Out in Beverly Hills”. They also used the footage to once again bring up is now famous arrest for DUI some years back that produced a crazy looking mug shot of the actor with wild unwashed hair and a cheesy flower print shirt.

If one watched the full story then the fact was he had misplaced a bag with personal items in it and was looking for it as many of us do when we lose something. He was retracing his steps and checking trash bins in case someone had stolen it and dumped it. The final bit of video showed him finding the bag at a coffee shop down the street where he had left it on the counter by mistake.

I guess the factual headline “Actor looses bag” is less interesting then the made up one of “Is Nick Nolte down and out for real?”

It is so obvious it makes me sick

Like dragging ones feet across the carpet on a cold dry day and then getting a jolt when touching anything, I get to a point where some things in life and the world become so obvious to me I wonder why it seems I am the only one who sees it and why can’t I get others to see it too. When others get that way they get ulcers or fly into a rage – me? I beat my head on a wall and write about it in my blog. Here is the latest obvious crap flaking my pie crust.

1. Where’s the change I voted for? It seems even with a new administration in Washington and the bullies out of power in Congress, we were to see actual real change. I’m still waiting. The Health Care reform debate is a prime example. It’s been obvious for years that we must end the monopoly by private insurance companies who profit from the pain and suffering of their customers. We don’t tolerate it for any other industry except health insurance.

Now it seems both spineless Democrats and the GOP bullies are planning a big wet kiss to the insurance companies along the same lines as we saw when the Medicare D pharmacy plan came out – huge payments to big insurance companies for crappy coverage for those least able to afford any medical bills in the first place. Can you say Donut hole?

Republicans have lied about the reform from the beginning – just plain lied – and our fourth estate and even Democrats just let them do it.

Here are the facts 40 MILLION people have NO insurance and approx 40,000 DIE each year because of having NO insurance.

What kind of human would allow that to happen? Republicans for one and Democrats who accept money from the insurance industry.

Polls show overwhelming public support for reform and a public option, yet some in Congress let the money do their thinking for them. SHAME ON THEM!!!!

2. Passing off “talking points” as news. What boils my blood almost as much as the GOP lies about health care reform that go unchallenged is the general incest that goes on within the Washington DC media complex.

We had an election in November and the Democrats won handy majorities in both houses and have the White House but you wouldn’t know it if you watch or read the mainstream media that comes out of DC.

It seems that the Sunday talk shows and political news in print supposedly needs to have a 1 to 1 “balance” of left and right views. While it seemed on some Sundays, former VP Dick Cheney, or for some odd reason, his daughter, was allowed to basically give a monologue about his version of events when he was President and approved of the criminal torturing of human beings among other GOP centric discussions.

Do you remember tug-of-wars from your childhood? I remember the adult in charge lining up us kids by height and then going down the line, alternating which team we would be on, to ensure that neither side was unfairly stacked. That notion of balancing the sides to make things fair has morphed in modern media to this simplistic binary equation of Republican vs. Democrat. But it’s a false equivalence, because it assumes a completely valid argument on both sides, and as we chronicle daily here at C&L, rarely do we see sensible, much less valid, arguments coming from the right to make the “balance” actually informative. Instead we get death panels, socialicommunistmarxism, concern trollism over deficit spending and the Olympic Games.

Sunday Morning Bobblehead Thread

The point again is this assumes that both sides have equally valid arguments and in some cases, like the health care debate, this is not even close. The lies about death panels, lack of public support for a public option, and “socialized medicine” told by the right are lies. Lies are not valid arguments.

Only a few years ago if you dissented against the President your words were treasonous and you should be “sent to Gitmo” or worse, where regular people wearing T-shirts saying “Bush Sucks” were detained by police when they showed up to protest Bush in public. Since November if you bring a gun to an event the President is appearing, it’s called “free speech” and you want to “take back your country” from a black guy and his uppity ways.

It kind of has an Orwellian “doubleplusgood” ring to it all.

3 Finally, who the hell is Kim Kardashian? What has she done to merit any mention in the press? I had to look her up in Wikipedia and just as I guessed she is famous for no real reason. She didn’t land a plane in the Hudson, she didn’t cure a disease, and she doesn’t contribute to society in any memorable way.

If she was someone of substance I could see why she would be newsworthy but unless I missed her winning an Oscar recently then her celebrity worth is very small compared to the amount of press she gets.

I’m just fed up with narcissism being passed out as something important. I don’t care about her or any other “celebutante” and I’ll now have to spend time scrubbing the taint from this blog. UGH!

And THAT is this edition of my Obvious rant….