Why Anna Nicole proves the media are scum | AspenTimes.com

Why Anna Nicole proves the media are scum

Michael Cleverly

A few months ago when I wrote a column claiming to be the father of Dannelynn, Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter, I wasn’t lying to you. It was simply an ALTERNATIVE INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT. I learned that from the Bush administration. Thanks, guys. I can’t remember exactly what my point was at the time: It might have been that Smith was something of a parasite, and even parasites can have parasites. In light of recent events I’m afraid that I may have been right. Remember Bogey in “The African Queen,” covered with leaches? The truth is that the situation surrounding Smith, the child, the money, the leaches, is really none of our business and never was. I’m still a little unclear as to what precisely it was that Smith did for a living, unless it was what we all do before we jump into the shower. Why this is international news, I don’t know. Nonetheless, we continue to endure saturation coverage of all things “Anna Nicole” in every facet of the media. If we tune in to one of those entertainment-type shows and have this dead broad’s cleavage thrust in our faces, we have no one to blame but ourselves. But if we continue to be subjected to endless coverage of this mess by the mainstream press, then shame on them. It’s not news, there’s a war going on, people are dying.In my mind the O.J. Simpson trial was the beginning of the end of responsible journalism in this country. It was the end of judgment calls on the part of editors, and the beginning of a policy of pandering to the appetite of the lowest common denominator, humanitywise. It was no longer about the people’s right to know; it came to be about people’s craving to be entertained. It was about the money. As far as I was concerned, every single person associated with the Simpson trial was a dirtbag. I felt bad for the families of the victims for about five minutes, but when it was all said and done, their voices were ringing in my ears and their faces were burned into my retinas the same way the voices and faces of all the other scumbags were, so to hell with them.I feel exactly the same way about everyone connected with this Anna Nicole Smith situation. Jesus, if you let your guard down and stopped hating lawyers for one minute – and that poor dead kid, he never had a chance. Have you seen the grandmother, Vergie, and this guy Smith, the father? Talk about a polluted gene pool. By comparison, they make the worst trailer trash vermin you’ve ever seen in your life look like the House of freaking Windsor. No wonder Anna Nicole wanted out. All the basest qualities of human nature are on full display in your living room every morning and evening. The media blames this fixation on the “public’s ongoing fascination.” The “public” – that’s us, right? I’m not fascinated, I’m grossed out. How about you? If I never heard that woman’s name again as long as I live it would fine with me; I won’t even miss her rack. I don’t think I know a single person that gives a hoot and a holler about Anna Nicole or her evil parasites. So where’s this public with the ongoing fascination? Glenwood, Junction, Middle America? I don’t know. It’s possible that the media simply assumes that people are deeply interested in this stuff and then it sort of has a life of its own, without any actual demand out here in reality? If that were the case, then it would have to be because the media has such a low opinion of said “public.” Sure some people may have elected George Bush president, but does it really mean that they want the Anna Nicole Show in their living rooms 23 hours a day? I hope not, the Bush thing makes me queasy enough.The days of editors like Ben Bradlee laying off stories about public figures’ private lives, because it was really not anyone’s business, are behind us. If it happened, print it. It’s the easiest moral cop-out in the world; there’s really no decision to be made. It’s the sort of thing dumb cops do: A law was broken, that’s that, no subjective assessment, no judgment call, no responsibility.The only glimmer of hope in this downward spiral of media standards is the recent HarperCollins recall of the O. J. Simpson book. The Simpson adventure was the brainchild of publishing star Judith Regan, the class act that brought us Howard Stern’s “Private Parts” and Jenna Jameson’s ” How to Make Love Like a Porn Star.” Regan thought the Juice’s book, and attendant TV specials, would make her queen of all media, her fingers would be into everything. It didn’t – she’s currently out of work.Maybe the unwashed masses aren’t the bottom-feeders these people think we are. The concept was so universally revolting that even Rupert Murdoch couldn’t handle it. But let’s not throw too much credit around. When things first started going south for “If I Did It” and meetings were being held about how to save the book, it was suggested that maybe they (HarperCollins) could donate its profits to the victims families. Regan’s superior Jane Friedman killed that idea out of hand. No money, no book. Of course it wasn’t worth saving and the book died the ugly death it deserved, but I don’t think it was necessarily a result of the media’s rediscovered set of moral standards. It’s more likely because they figured out the public didn’t have the appetite for it.