Stephen King is known for writing scary things.
When Time Magazine recently asked him who he would choose as Person of the Year, Mr. King wrote “Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.”
But rather than an endorsement of the two celebs—whose personal downfalls are relentlessly chronicled throughout the media—the full context of King’s nomination was an indictment of the media itself: “Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan symbolize the media’s growing obsession with issues of personality over substance. People care more about the details of Spears’ child custody case than they do about where the billions the U.S. government has poured into Iraq have gone. It’s time for a discussion about whether the news media have chucked their responsibilities and run off to Tabloid Disneyland.”
To be fair, there are still respectable hard-news outlets where you’d be hard-pressed to find any stories about attention-seeking, underwear-challenged, rehab-struggling, bold-face names.
At the same time, Business Week magazine notes that TV shows and blogs devoted specifically to celebrity scandal and gossip are increasing because of one key factor: there’s a growing audience for them. And a profitable one. "Cleaning Up By Dishing Dirt" —the Business Week headline says it all.
So let Stephen King’s discussion begin. Have the media chucked their responsibilities? Have readers and viewers of celebrity news chucked theirs, too?