Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chris Brown and the corruption of "mainstream" journalism

Recently, the singer, dancer, and (alleged!) woman beater Chris Brown appeared on a network morning "new" program entitled "Good Morning America," during which he gave an interview, and demonstrated his singing and dancing technique on camera. Off camera, he (allegedly!) demonstrated his "throwing a cooler through a window" technique.

He was in a fit of pique over being asked a vague question about a restraining order against him being "relaxed."



The restraining order was issued after Mr. Brown (allegedly!) beat his then girlfriend, the singer Rihanna, senseless back in February 2009. In February of this year, MediaTakeOut published some brutal, graphic photos of Rihanna's face which you can see here. They are gruesome.

These images were released around the time the restraining order was "relaxed." They are fresh in many peoples' minds. It isn't necessary to use your imagination to picture what Mr. Brown did to Rihanna; we can see it.

It seems that a "journalist" would be remiss if she did not ask Mr. Brown about the incident, given the opportunity to interview him. The "journalist" in question, Robin Roberts (who apparently got her start as that most loathsome of "journalists," the "sportscaster," whose job it is solely to provide propaganda for the corporations that own sports teams in the area-- Wikipedia notes that "She joined ESPN as a sportscaster in February 1990 and became well known on Sportscenter for her catchphrase, 'Go on with your bad self!'"), did the bare minimum required of her as a "journalist," although she went above and beyond as an "entertainment reporter."

Would you consider "Good Morning America" to be a news program? It has a segment during which a singer and dancer comes on and performs a song from his latest album, in an effort to promote it. "Good Morning America" is a promotional vehicle for celebrities. And when I say "celebrities," I am talking about singers, dancers, actors, politicians, sports figures, corporate executives, and the personalities who host the program themselves. (Robin Roberts is an author -- you can read an excerpt from her book on "Good Morning America's" website.)

I don't think that Mr. Brown should have been booked on such a national promotional vehicle. Have you seen the photos of what he (allegedly!) did to Rihanna? Why would you give such a man a platform? Well, Mr. Brown's record label is Jive Label Group, which is part of the Sony Music Group which is itself part of the Sony Corporation of America megaconglomerate. "Good Morning America" airs on ABC, which is part of the ABC-Disney Television group, which is part of the Disney Corporation megaconglomerate.

Mr. Brown is a cog in the corporate machine. Disney helps Sony, as Sony helps Disney. They all promote each other. That is how it works. Mr. Brown got angry because Ms. Roberts asked him something unpleasant that had nothing to do with promoting his corporate work -- that might, in fact, hurt his sales by reminding people (no, I actually don't believe this myself but hey maybe) of what he did.

And a few clicks on google (another corporation!) and you might end up looking at the battered face of Rihanna.

Anyway, like a good corporate player with a new album out, Mr. Brown apologized for his (alleged! --actually, if he's apologizing, do I have to keep saying it's "alleged"? that's a legal question) outburst.
"First of all, I want to apologize to anybody who was startled in the office, or anybody who was offended or really looked, and [was] disappointed at my actions," Brown said, according to a transcript of his live appearance on BET's "106 & Park." "Because I'm disappointed in the way I acted.

"Yes, I got very emotional," he later added. "And I apologize for acting like that."

Brown emphasized that he did not hurt anyone backstage at "GMA" but had to release "the anger that I had inside of me." He grew angry after, he claimed, he was thrown off balance by questions about his domestic abuse incident involving his ex-girlfriend, pop singer Rihanna, in an interview he believed would focus on his new album.
Ms. Roberts has stated that she was confused by Mr. Brown's anger, because she thought it was all part of the camaraderie the two share:
"You saw me laughing during the interview because when he was doing that, I thought he was joking about some things because of the easy relationship that we have," Roberts said.
There you go. The "journalist" Robin Roberts has an "easy relationship" with the subject of her interview (she interviewed him about the assault of Rihanna back in December 2009).

They all have "easy" relationships with each other. They're all part of the same system. They're all working for the corporations, all helping promote themselves and their companies. They're all out to make money.

This isn't limited to "entertainment news" such as you find on the morning programs. The "journalists" who are supposed to be covering government's actions are in fact mostly in the business of promotion. These "journalists" have what is a very "cozy" relationship with the officials they're supposed to cover. They all hang out together. They go to the same parties. They attend functions such as "The White House Correspondents Dinner."

Remember this notorious clip from the 2007 Radio and Television Correspondents Association?



That is former president G. W. Bush adviser Karl Rove dancing with members of the "Whose Line is it Anyway?" cast (oh, shame on them! it was such a great show!), and a man called David Gregory.

David Gregory was the NBC news division's White House correspondent. He was a "journalist" charged with gathering news about the doings of the executive branch of government. He is now the host of NBC's weekly politician's promotional program "Meet the Press."

This man was laughing and dancing with someone he should have been investigating.

One doesn't need to agree with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin on much to agree with her that we have been saddled with a "lamestream media" that has its own agenda, which very often runs counter to our best interests. The internet has given us many wonders, among them are the information outlets that serve as alternatives to what we've gotten from the "lamestream media" in the past. Outlets such as MediaTakeOut, that will publish photos of Rihanna, and outlets such as Salon, where Glenn Greenwald has been writing about presidential abuses of power. And of course YouTube where there are plenty of reminders of David Gregory's dancing.

Please don't forget that when you hear people in the government talking about a "bailout" for newspapers, or when someone in the government starts talking about regulating the quality of journalism based on what it considers to be a "public values test."

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