I will not join the Paris Hilton naysayers already lamenting the media coverage of her travails. Sure, it’s mostly fluff, but the classic storyline of the spoiled debutante finally getting her comeuppance is too good to resist.
Besides, there are real issues involved. Wealthy, white people, never mind celebrities, get preferential treatment from the justice system all the time, but it usually takes an extreme example like this to bring attention to it. And maybe there are a few intrepid reporters out there who will use Hilton as a jumping off point to examine the greater problem. Sometimes you have to get the eyeballs any way you can.
Sure, the nonstop cable news coverage of Hilton is a bit sickening, but very little that cable news does is not sickening, and we are better off avoiding it altogether. I’ll take the best of both worlds from the New York Times, where we can catch all the gossipy details of the Hilton story while simultaneously getting our digs in at those shmucks on CNN:
The news about Ms. Hilton dominated news coverage today. At CNN, the news was breaking during the cable news network’s daily CNN International news hour. The Paris story led the show after one commercial break, coming even before updates on the G8 Summit and Italy’s Rendition Trial.
“It’s the kind of day where we’ll always have Paris,” Stephen Frazier, one of the anchors, said, trying for a wry delivery.
For those who like their fluff with an even thicker veneer of respectability, we have this story on the Tom and Jerry cartoon-like efforts of the press covering the G-8 summit to avoid protesters:
Plan A called for the press to ride a quaint little locomotive train, ordinarily a tourist attraction, for the 12-minute trip from nearby Kuhlungsborn to the grounds of the Kempinski Grand. When protesters lay down across the tracks just as Mr. Bush was to have lunch with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the organizers quickly invoked to Plan B: army boats.
But the sea, alas, was choppy and some in the press corps got sick. Then the protesters themselves took to the water, in a speedboat and the police ordered the army boats docked, leaving the new president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, about to hold his first Group of 8 press conference with no French reporters on hand. So the French came to Heiligendamm via Plan C: helicopters.
That is only the middle blurb in a story that covers President Bush’s awkwardness around German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the shoulder massage incident at the last summit, and his later show of rubbing his stomach to refute earlier claims of a tummy ache that may have offended the German hosts.
The real news is still out there for anyone to find, but a little supplementary fluff never hurt anyone.