The crisis of media conscious reared its ugly head once again when Charlie Sheen disrupted everything. Local, regional and national newscasts simply couldn’t say no to a post, a mention, a clip of the distraught actor. Local dailies had much the same problem.
The main problem with the Sheen extravaganza is the immense popularity of his show, Two and a Half Men. Its runaway success is the very reason why everyone is rushing to cover it, and why we see consternation from folks like New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof, who said via Twitter:
If there’s anything that symbolizes the bankruptcy of TV news today, it’s the focus on Charlie Sheen.
We would agree were it not for Sheen’s effect on local news. Consider this Tweet from WBZ-TV anchor, reporter and “longtime fan of sarcasm” David Wade:
Charlie Sheen endorses new cologne: Sex Panther. “Made with bits of real Panther.” #sheen #Anchormanreference
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a popular movie starring Will Ferrell, ironically about a television news anchor.
Others took a more savvy approach to get in on the Sheen action. Like Boston.com “Less is More” blogger and reporter Garrett Quinn, who tried to force not one but two forced memes. “So it begins,” he wrote, “The Charlie Sheen meme.” Then later “Charlie Sheen quotes presented by cute, adorable bunnies.”
You can hardly blame him. Stories about Charlie Sheen were easily dominating the “Most Popular” feeds at both Boston.com and WCVB-TV’s TheBostonChannel.com. It all makes sense when you realize that WCVB is Boston’s ABC outlet, and their news program 20/20 was airing the full interview with Sheen later that night.
We do it all in the name of ratings.
Boston Herald’s Megan Johnson jumped into the mix when it was rumored that John Stamos was going to replace the embattled actor on the top-rated show. She killed it with these lede:
“Two and a Half Men” may be down to One and a Half without Charlie Sheen, but it could become a “Full House.”
This rumor was then retweeted by none other than our friends at Greater Boston, the weeknight local news magazine on WGBH-TV who truncatedly asked: “Uncle Jesse the new Charlie Sheen?”
The Herald continued their hard-hitting Charlie Sheen coverage at BostonHerald.com inside of their “Chat Live with Ernie Boch Jr.” where the “Car czar, philanthropist and guitarist” held a riveting series of question and answers. JessieB asked, “Thoughts on Charlie Sheen??” To which Boch replied:
“i thought charlie was very entertaining…then i saw the interviews….he is headed for a big time fall….its still fun to watch…”
“How awesome is Charlie Sheen?” asked Warlock later. “im a fan,” typed Boch back. “he is awsome[sic].”
So Media Farm chimed into the chat with our old alias John H.
“If Charlie Sheen was a car, what type of car would he be?” John H.
“charlie would be ’68 camaro….” Ernie Boch Jr.
“wait why would he be an ’68 camaro? I was thinking he’d be a ‘wreck’ ha.”John H.
“i think u are right john….” Ernie Boch Jr.
Ernie Boch Jr. agrees with Media Farm!
FROM THE CHILDREN-ARE-THE-FUTURE DEPT:
Perennial overwrought blowhard Michael Moore has launched a new website, mikeshighschoolnews.com, aiming to give the next generation of anti-establishment muckrakers an outlet for their words away from the censoring eyes of their local high school newspaper advisers and principals.
It’s admirable that he’s trying to give a forum to the under-18 set. “For a long time I’ve wondered,” he asks, “how come we don’t hear the true voices of teenagers in our mainstream media? Why is your voice any less valid than an adult’s?”
He’s missing the point.
Their points of view can be as valid as any other age groups, but without someone constructively critiquing their work, how is this different than signing up for a free blog account, with the associated grammar, language and focus problems?
File under “Parents just don’t understand (the internet).”