Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hannah and her tree sitters

Have you ever found yourself wondering, how did things get this bad? How have we, as Americans, allowed society to devolve to such a deplorable condition? How have we promoted the incompetence, duplicity and corruption now found at even the highest levels of government? We have sat back and watched the US government illegally march the country to war while, at the same time, further allowed them to conduct their domestic assaults on the poor and the elderly and to conduct various big business enrichment programs on the nickle of the US taxpayer. It was all done in plain sight and dutifully reported by the mainstream media, which chose to view such things from an "objective" point of view, as though lying to Congress was equallly weighted by simple White House statements that known lies were not. One of the many and more compelling reasons for this dreadful state affairs is that the mainstream media has concurrently morphed into becoming just another facet of a massive infotainment industry designed to quell public concern for real issues under a cloak of celebrity.

It would be difficult to find a better example of pitiable state of what is generally referred to as the mainstream media than the story at CNN regarding the plight of the South Central LA community farming lot. The South Central farm project is a community co-op that manages a 14 acre lot donated to local communities by the city of Los Angeles after the 1992 riots. It is now under commercial assault by a developer who has purchased the land from the city and plans to build a wharehouse on the site. A new wharehouse in Los Angeles hardly seems crucial. Los Angeles boasts some 13 million square feet of empty wharehouse space. The case is now in court as the sale is being challenged for its legality.

But to CNN, this story is most assuredly not what is seen as the pertinent one, a story that would have been all but ignored by CNN were it not for one feature that it thinks viewers must know. How does CNN chose to introduce the story to its readers? The headline is all you need to see and reveals the true concern CNN thinks will appeal to its audience:
Daryl Hannah removed from tree
An LA community farm is threatened with commercial development by a potentially illegal sale of the co-op's land by the city but, oh my god! Daryl Hannah is in a tree! That crazy-ass celebrity! But just in case readers might not understand the import of Hannah's presence, or might not even know who Darryl Hannah is, the celebrity appreciation knob must be dialed up. Let us not forget the provenance of her fame; not the crazed, one-eyed blonde assassin from Kill Bill, no, but that adorable mermaid hotty:
Authorities cut away branches and used a fire truck lift to bring down the "Splash" actress and another tree-sitter, who raised their fists as they were removed...
Now, I am not taking anything away from Hannah for her efforts, which, unlike Senn Penn's grandstanding in New Orleans, appear to be genuine and which have generated some interest in a story that CNN would have otherwise completely ignored. But for CNN viewers, the salient issue revolves around Hannah and her protests, not of the underlying issue that gave rise to those protests.

But CNN's focus and tone here speak volumes about the bizzare, self-flagellating state of the media these days, engaged as it is in the contradictory yet simultaneous efforts to relish celebrity while reinforcing the meme of Hollywod liberal loonies. While only a small example of the dire state of the media today, this story should serve as an example of the enormous hurdle that faces American society if it ever tries to counter our current, downward tailspin, aided and abetted as that is by the corporate entertainment machine.

[via Musclemouth]


Blogger Kel said...

Well spotted Bhc.

CNN's coverage is simply a disgrace that ignores the issue and concentrates merely on the fact that a celebrity is involved.

It actually gives credence to celebrities getting involved in such issues as, without Daryl Hannah, you have to doubt whether the story would have been reported at all!

3:55 AM  
Blogger Musclemouth said...

No doubt. Another element I found in the CNN story that rubbed me the wrong way was the sucker punch "question" about whether the Save the Farm people were anti-Semitists. Turns out some filthy anti-Semitist website linked to the South Central Farm website, at which point the accusations started flying. Darryl Hannah did a good job of answering this question rationally and moving on, keeping her cool. Now, I realize anti-Semitism exists, and there are a lot of people practicing that form of hate. But this is a witch hunt, and it discredits certain movements that might otherwise have had a better chance. Most power mongers out there are NOT Jewish; I say attack them all equally. One's minority status does not constitute a get-out-of-jail-free card.

As to the Darryl Hannah fame element, the same sort of smear campaign occurred when Charlie Sheen spoke out about 9/11 in March. "Ha ha, look at the crazy celeb." Ad hominem attacks are part and parcel with the entertainment industry. News is a stupid gossip column for the most part nowadays.


8:52 AM  

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