Sign o’ the Media Times®

So you have actress Brittany Murphy dying at the ripe old age of 32, and you know a media feeding frenzy will follow like night follows the day.

But who’s following whom in the news media is the major sidebar to this sad-for-whatever-reason death.

Exhibit A:  CBSNews.com cites TMZ as its source for the claim that Murphy’s death was drug-induced:

Celebrity Web site TMZ is reporting there were “large amounts of prescription medications” on the nightstand when paramedics arrived at her Hollywood home, and that Murphy was “complaining of shortness of breath and severe abdominal pain” in the week before she died.

Time was, an outfit like TMZ would rely on, oh, CBS for its material.

Exhibit B: Xerox journalism from the Boston Herald. To wit:

Murphy had been complaining of shortness of breath and severe abdominal pain for 7 to 10 days before her death, TMZ reported. The Web site said there was “a significant amount of vomit” in the bathroom area where she died.

Not to get personal about it, but Xerox journalism gives me severe abdominal pain.

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11 Responses to Sign o’ the Media Times®

  1. Adam Gaffin says:

    Is the problem photocopying or the fact that *some Web site* not part of the MSM broke the story?

    What if the NY Times had broken the story? Would it be bothering you as much if all the other papers had “as reported by the New York Times”?

    For better or worse, it seems like TMZ.com IS getting legitimate entertainment scoops.

    • jcarroll7 says:

      I don’t have a problem with TMZ getting that story, Adam. Celebrity gossip/scandal is what they do. I guess I just miss the days when that wasn’t what CBS did. Sure, that whole Golden Age thing is pretty much a crock, but at least there was some discernible hierarchy to the news – if not in value, then in seriousness.
      And before the Jeff Jarvises of the world descend on me (I should have that many readers), it’s to TMZ’s credit that it’s adopted some traditional news media characteristics. I just wish CBS wasn’t going in the other direction in this particular category.
      Thanks for listening and happy holidays.

  2. Curmudgeon says:

    I think, John, you are commenting on the decreasing instances of actual reporting.

    Journalism, as it seems to be defined in today’s world, is more reporting on other’s reports. There are even a significant percentage that report on others’ reports of reports without the safe haven of being a (alleged) media critic.

    All sort of once or twice removed from phoning it in!

  3. Emma says:

    I think what makes TMZ’s reporting wrong in my view is the way that it gets all this info and then slams it out for all to see, and people lap it up. To the point where instead of people exercising caution, they are now convinced because there were some prescription drugs found she DEFINATELY was a pill popper.

    And TMZ doesn’t say “this is just what we have found out and there is no evidence yet that this has any relevance on Murphy’s death”, because it relies on people clicking on their site at the next piece of essentially unedited, unvetted information.

    The lack of moral responsibility means that people now think it is impossible for a healthy 32 year old to just drop dead – when in fact if you read articles across the net carefully you will see Murphy had Type 2 diabetes which causes a higher probability of heart attacks in young women, and people are missing the fact that Murphy’s own mother said she had been ill with “flu” for a few days.

    People are overlooking this because they are lapping up the scraps of information being put out. 24 hour news and the need for instant gratification have in my view, meant investigative journalism and balancing the news, are often thrown out of the window, instead news channels, papers etc, want to get that first click.

    TMZ is just a by product of people hungry for more info, but they are happily feeding it. People like CBS, and others are enablers in some ways, and by straight reporting TMZ’s information without seeing for themselves, is lazy journalism.

    Just my two cents on this.

  4. Emma says:

    No probs. Happy Holidays

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