“Breaking News: Michael Jackson Still Weird and Still Dead!”

CNN plays continuously throughout the day at my house as a kind of background noise. The amount of coverage being given to Jackson’s death is smothering, and I can only assume it resembles the rest of the cable news universe’s bug-eyed, salivating leer over every detail of this artist’s sad life and sudden death. Yesterday, anchors interrupted a discussion about the possibility of a post-U.S. withdrawal civil war in Iraq for the “breaking news” that Jackson’s memorial would go forward at Staples Center in LA. And there’s no sign that this particular “news cycle” is about to play itself out — a little while ago, CNN announced it would begin all-day coverage of Jackson’s Tuesday memorial starting at 6 am.

Post-traumatic stress disorder has begun to set in. I’m having flashbacks of 1982, when you had to avoid all public places, shut off the TV and the radio, and pull down the blinds if you wanted a brief escape from the “Thriller” single.


I enjoy the sugar jolt that comes from entertainment news and tabloid “revelations”—they’re like the Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls of cultural awareness. But any eight year old can tell you that a whole box of them consumed in under an hour will make you puke. My question to cable news producers is: At long last, have you no gag reflex?