What's the One Thing John Gibson, Laura Ingraham and Al Sharpton Can Agree On? Paris Hilton is Wack
Uber conservative Laura Ingraham on the Today show this morning: "I think if Paris Hilton were a 20-year-old black kid from South Central, I don't think they would have slapped a deention bracelet on him and sent him home."
Uber conservative John Gibson, host of Fox News Channels' The Big Story: "Look, when he's right he's right. No matter what you think of Rev. Al, it is hard to imagine that anywhere in America a black woman is getting out of jail today because her shrink says she's about to have a nervous breakdown. He says it wouldn't happen, and I agree."
And Sharpton's comments: "“Though I have nothing but empathy for Ms. Hilton whom I have met and appeared with on Saturday Night Live the night I hosted in 2003, this early release gives all of the appearances of economic and racial favoritism that is constantly cited by poor people and people of color. There are any number of cases of people who handle being incarcerated badly and even have health conditions that are not released.
"I have served several sentences for civil rights and civil disobedience actions and I even fasted which caused health concerns to prison authorities who paid for a doctor to come see me daily rather than release me. This act smacks of the double standards that many of us raise.”
I was going to write a column sometime this week about Al Gore's comments on the "trivializing" of news.
Frankly, I was getting irritated at Gore running around talking about how the media was obsessed with Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith. If he had done any research, he would have seen studies by the Pew Research Center and Project for Excellence in Journalism indicating the war in Iraq is the most-covered subject in today's media (last week, according to the PEJ, the quarantined lawyer with TB was the most-covered story). Smith, whose death likely left a multi-million-dollar estate to an infant whose paternity was in dispute, rated 8th on the PEJ's list.
Then Paris Hilton got put in jail. And released. And now, is headed back to jail after a hearing. And the news media exploded.
Some high minded journalists who made public statements about avoiding Paris Hilton and celebrities in their coverage, wound up covering this mess like it was a moon landing Thursday, pushed into reporting on Hilton's surprising move into house arrest by public interest over the question of whether a celebrity was getting favorable treatment.
As I have said many times before, the devil in this awfulness is in the details. MSNBC and Fox News should be ashamed of the way they have reporters parked in front of Hilton's house today as if she's being held hostage (Perhaps, in an odd way, she is a media hostage of sorts). And don't be surprised if all this breathless media coverage pushes viewers into seeing her as more of victim than they ever did before.
I've always said that a tawdry, emptyheaded subject doesn't have to equal emptyheaded coverage. But putting bubbleheads on cable TV to argue about the privileges of wealth won't bring much else.
Isaiah Washington Out of Hospital Greys
Creator Shonda Rhimes finally pulled the trigger everyone was expecting, letting troubled child Isaiah Washington know he would not be returning to Grey's Anatomy when the hit series comes back in the fall. Washington first got into trouble when news that he used an anti-gay slur during an onstage argument his the press. He only made it worse when he repeated it during a press event at the golden globes, where he also lied and claimed he never said it in the first place.
Now, despite all the sucking up he's done to gay groups, Washington's character has been written out of the show and he's suddenly free to make all the PSAs for GLAAD he wants. In true Hollywood fashion, Rhimes delayed action on Washington's employment status to build interest in the show's season finale, which saw Washington's character walk out of a planned marriage.
Tyler Perry's Payne-ful Show Brings Ratings Pleasure
Close readers may remember my Wednesday story about Tyler Perry's godawful sitcom House of Payne and how I cautioned against assuming people wouldn't watch it just because it sucked.
Well, I got confirmation following news that it notched ratings marking it as the highest sitcom debut in the history of basic cable television, with an average 3.2 rating/5 share in the overnights from 9-10 p.m. (9 p.m.: 3.1/ 5, 3.3/ 5), according to Nielsen Media Research data.
The only thing that gives me hope: Maybe the ratings will drop for the second week, once people realize just how lame this series truly is.