Friday, June 08, 2007

Why do I even know who Paris Hilton is?

By Edward Copeland

Stop the presses! Interrupt all broadcasts! Paris Hilton is going back to jail and she's crying! Howard Kurtz wrote a great column this morning about all this nonsense (and that was before cable broke away from news of Peter Pace's "retirement" to get back to Parismania).

Forget immigration, Iraq and -- what's that guy's name? -- Libby. We can all have a national meltdown now over Paris! Maybe Bush should pardon her so she doesn't have to keep wearing that designer ankle bracelet for the next 40 days. I wonder if Britney and Linsday can come over to her new "cell"--is Lindsay out of rehab? I'd better find my copy of Us--and they can pretend they're hitting the clubs. Paris, what are we going to do with you? Heyyyy. . . this would make a great reality show.

If the news channels, and I use the term news very loosely, were going to avoid topics of real significance (Also out there in the ether: William Jefferson's not guilty plea, a pending no-confidence vote against Alberto Gonzales and a report placing some of the locations of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe) to focus on something of cultural significance, how about focusing on something of cultural significance such as the impending end of "The Sopranos." Every time Paris Hilton's name has come up since she first forced her way into the public consciousness, I've asked others the same question: Why do we even know who she is? Yes, she's rich. Yes, she's an heiress. However, there are plenty of rich heiresses out there that we don't know. Has she achieved anything? People began talking about her prior to her reality TV show, so that can't take the credit. Certainly others such as Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Anna Nicole Smith have spawned similar media hysteria, but say what you will about them, all three actually had accomplished something careerwise to put themselves in the public eye in the first place. Paris had done nada. Paris made Paris and the media bought right into it.

How can we expect the Fourth Estate to do their job on the myriad of serious issues needing scrutiny in the age of the Bush administration when they'd rather blather on about a young, rich party girl that no one should even be aware of outside of her friends and immediate family. I've said it before and I will say it again: Wouldn't it be great if some rich philanthropist actually started a television news operation that actually focused on the news and not trivia?

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