Friday, February 13, 2009

Do news priorities say something about ethics?,2933,483204,00.html
Yes they do, in my opinion. While there are devastating fires in Australia, new government in Zimbabwe, Somali pirates taking over the world, and a global economic meltdown, a top news story in the American media the past two weeks has been, hold your breath, singer Jessica Simpson's weight gain, if you can call it that.
One story from FOX news asked if she was 'preggers', or gained 'sympathy weight' for her little sister who just had a baby. They even said she was eating a 'Dallas cowboy diet' with her boyfriend, who is a player. In reality, the weight gain, I would say, is not enough to make any of these accusations. She looks fine. But my question is, how in the world is it ethical to make these accusations, and most of all, put it as a priority story over serious, life-changing news?
What are the news values? I don't think the American top broadcast stations know. This is so ridiculous, I am very disappointed. How do they justify going after this? This isn't a 'story'! It is unethical because people are being burned in Australia, massive stimulus plans are in the works, and our fatphobia culture is doing a story on a pop star who put on a few pounds. This isn't even a features story, or anything of the like. It's like celebrity gossip and it is disgusting. What message is this sending young people? It is so important to be stick thin that it is worth reporting this 'story' over other devastating news?
On a broader note, when did news coverage of celebrities every body change and image become newsworthy in serious journalism? Google Michelle Obama, and you get back stuff about her fashion, and how to look like her. She is the first black first lady and we are talking about her fashion. Gag me. And I would like to also point out what Arie already said about Nadia the kid lady, that the news has questioned if she has had surgery to look like Angelina Jolie. How is this possibly relevant? I don't care if she looks like an alien, there is not a news topic.
My point is, this is not news, and is therefore not ethical to this kind of gatekeeping. There needs to be more coverage of international news on American news, and other issues that are actually serious, and are causing problems in our country today. We need to stop being obsessive about the lives our 'stars' and care about real problems, and when the news begin reporting on those, then that priority will show.

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