08/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Media Feeding Frenzy Cheats Viewers

The sudden passing of music icon and legend Michael Jackson was understandably a shock to much of the nation. Despite the shadows of scandal that plagued Jackson throughout his adult life, the public reverence for his abundant musical talents could not be stifled or quieted to any significant degree.

While it was understandable that the event merited considerable coverage and attention, the disgraceful monopoly of the topic on the television screens and the neglect of nearly any other news story of significance were not. On the contrary, it was totally reprehensible and a lack of disrespect for the viewing public.

Examples are the virtual eclipse of the death of Farah Fawcett. For decades, the love goddess of nearly every young and growing man during the sixties and seventies, and ultimately a development into a formidable and accomplished actress, with brains to match the beauty and an effervescence and devotion to her audience. She had become one of Charlie's Angels and now is one of God's. Her brave and unrelenting battle with cancer showed courage and determination, and drew an international cheering section to her side. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful but received the chronicling that it deserved, that is until the very end, when Michael Jackson just happened to die at the same time.

TV legend Ed McMahon, companion and strong support system bastion for Johnny Carson, died during the same period, and was barely mentioned. Not because he did not enjoy a lengthy tenure in the TV industry or did not contribute enormously to the people he dealt with or to society in general, but maybe he could not sing or gyrate loudly enough to earn a place in the hierarchy of news prioritizing.

Of course, that doesn't surprise this writer in a day and age that never seems to end in which the accomplishments or failures of nationally well-known athletes receive geometrically disproportionate news space compared to a university professor who makes a unique discovery or to the paragraphless commemoration of a recipient of a Nobel Prize, which is often mentioned in a token sense, or as an "Oh, well, I guess we have to cover this item" type of presentation.

Oh, yes, and while I think of it, there were developments in that country in the Middle East, what's it called, I--I--what is it now? Oh, yes. Iran, I believe. While its people were engaging in struggling and courageous protests trying to capture a taste of their long-deprived democracy, a treasure we enjoy and often ignore, the priority afforded MJ's death swallowed up all available air time with the same nauseating pictures of Michael dancing on the top of cars with a parasol, while a jury was trying to decide his fate. And the Iranian catastrophe was almost preempted; a situation that carried so much meaning to the whole of the globe's international security was totally ignored.

I think it is time we demand from the news media the same compliance with our welfare that we are beginning to require from our legislators, and not anywhere as strongly and vociferously enough, I might add.

Again, the pandering to ratings and to the devil with public welfare.

Time to raise a cry, my friends. And there are others that need to follow in rapid succession.