Jackson funeral: BO Poison

The true extent of the media hype surrounding the death of Michael Jackson has been exposed. Fox News reports on air that as the Michael Jackson memorial was starting, tickets were being handed out to bystanders, as embarrassingly empty seats inside the Staples Center signaled reality refusing to conform to media-generated expectations.

No doubt many people participated in the lottery on a whim and decided, given the hype over the large size of crowds, to skip it and watch the show on television. Still, the predictions of crowds in the hundreds of thousands, the vast expenditures of public resources on police mobilization, freeway clsings, and other appurtenances of great events look, well, stupid, or at least misguided.

The most interesting aspect of it all is the proof it offers of the extent of media detachment from reality. To judge from cable news coverage, Jackson's death is more important than the passage of cap and trade in the House, Obama's trip to Moscow, and many other consequential matters.

In their rush to pander to the lowest common denominator, the major media, especially television, have fallen for their own hype, in a self-reinforcing cycle of Jackson mania. They believed the importance of their coverage was revealed by the fact that all their peers and competitors regarded Jackson as equally important.

The public has even less reason to place their confidence in the antique media that brought us the sensationalistic coverage of the funeral of a celebrity whose career and life have been falling apart for many years.