Ron Rosenbaum

The Shame of it All: Michael Jackson Wipes Out Iran Scrutiny

Years from now this moment will become the defining tragic symbol of the bankruptcy of media culture that no bailout will cure. It’s too late. For all we know it might be a defining tragic turning point in actual, geopolitical history as well, as the insanely stupid and useless Michael Jackson coverage starved of oxygen what hope was left for the Iranian resistance by blotting it out from the screens and scrutiny of the world.

The whole world is watching…”Billy Jean”.

Nothing could illustrate the triumph of the publicity-industrial-complex (a phrase I coined, by the way) over the fate of real people fighting for their freedom who will now be beaten, tortured and murdered with impunity, at least in part because the media took its collective eye off Iran to give us endless clips of the MJ freak show.

Would it have made a difference in Iran? Maybe not.The fascist theocrats would probably have triumphed anyway, but the impact of the opposition would have been greater, its future more hopeful. The spectacle of brutality might have hounded the regime like the photos of the police dogs did the racist cops of Bermingham, Alabama in the civil rights revolution. But we’ll never know.

I’m not a prudish opponent of “sensationalism”. But if the media can’t see that the events in Iran are genuinely sensational as opposed to fake sensational, that “Neda” is more important than “Billy Jean”, that they don’t necessarily have to be opposed choices, but in this case, by an accident of timing, they were— then….oh forget it.

The whole thing’s disgusting.