Michael Jackson, legend

06 July 2009 |permalink | email article

THE Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in a four-day poll of a thousand people 18 and over after the pop icon’s sudden death in Los Angeles June 25 found that nearly two out of three Americans believe that media coverage was excessive.

But on cable television ratings are off the charts, and its been a 24-7 story ever since. Commercial networks have joined the scrum along with major print operations.

Even New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, at the Aspen Ideas Festival last week, said Jackson’s death put an end to the U.S. Twitter interest in the situation in Iran which, in terms of potential news importance, outranked the news in the music world.

On CNN, the coverage has been the most intense and repetitive. Sunday’s Reliable Sources program generated an intense debate among journalists in which the host, Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz, fought a losing battle over justifying the non-stop media hype.

Attention has turned to the public memorial service Tuesday at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles where over 1.2 million Jackson fans from all over the world have registered in a lottery for 17,500 free tickets.

How much the city, with a $530 million deficit, should pay for security could draw more than a half million fans to a cordoned off arena area – certain to involve of thousands of Los Angeles police and related agencies – is a major concern.

Los Angeles based AEG Live, the promoter which shelled out millions in preparation for the world wide concerts and was expected to suffer a major financial blow with the singer’s death, may yet recoup its losses with unexpected profits from insurance, rehearsal footage and souvenirs.

AEG Live, which owns Staples where the Los Angeles Lakers play, helped pay for the team’s parade honoring the NBA champions last month which cost the team, private donors and the city nearly $2 million. The question is who pays for several millions more this time around. For my two cents plain the promoters should pick up the tab.

It may be weeks before it’s known whether a powerful sedative found in the singer’s rented Los Angeles mansion was the cause of Jackson’s death. The LAPD, DEA and the California Attorney General’s office are involved in the investigation. If so, the media frenzy will only escalate.

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