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Friday, February 09, 2007
Must Have Been A Slow News Day... hear some of the news outlets yesterday, it probably was. Guess they got tired of the psychotic astronaut (more on her next week, stay tuned).

Yesterday, at too young of an age, Anna Nicole Smith died. And the news sources went wild.

It was on CNN. It was the lead story on Yahoo. FoxNews jumped in with both feet and put analysts on it. The television stations went nuts.

The gossip wires had glorious orgasms over it.

And while it's a very sad thing that she has died and left a 5 month old daughter whose paternity is still in question, another part of the tragedy is how people reacted to this, and how the media has handled it.

First of all, this is sad news, but it certainly isn't on the same footing as the death of a President - but it's getting more coverage than such. I can kind of understand it from the perspective of 'eyeballs': the news sources want as many people tuning into them as possible and they're going to squeeze every last thing they can get out of this story because Smith isn't going to be able to provide any more strange things for us to wonder about.

But the news business is a strange animal indeed, and one we can't truly speculate on unless we're in it. We can only observe, as we can only do with celebrities and the news reported about them.

Smith was a celebrity, that much is clear whether we want it to be or not. She made news for years over years for various reasons and not all of them truly noteworthy. Sure, she was discovered pretty much out of nowhere and suddenly was famous - a small town Texas girl turned topless dancer who is suddenly a media darling - on the cover of Playboy and the Guess jeans model. The gossip sites are mourning her for sure because they can't drag and slag her name any longer, so they're going to speculate as much as they can for as long as they can. And some of them have been downright... well...

E!Online was rather tasteful about it last night with a banner across the eyeline of the site, and a tasteful serious picture of Smith.

TMZ had a simple black banner with a black and white photo of Smith before they went into their timelines. You have to scroll down to get to the four-square picture of Smith and some of her more out there poses and mugs for the camera.

The Smoking Gun had her picture up as the "featured document" of the day with pieces of the 2002 legal statements regarding her marriage to the oil baron that helped propel her to stardom.

PerezHilton... well, do you really want my opinion of the attention whores there who cannot bother to use a spellchecker and use MSPaint to scribble things like "R.I.P.", "Nip" and "Tuck" across pictures of Smith?

None of them are reliable sources for any information on her death, yet they all played the suicide speculation game. Oh wait, PerezHilton didn't speculate. They actually stated that they had sources that could confirm that it was an overdose death when Smith had only been dead for about 2 hours.

*stop and picture me rolling my eyes in complete disbelief*

The other sad part of all this has been watching people all over the internet and in person react to this. So very few have said that it's such a shame that a young life has ended like this. Granted, she did some questionable things, and she appeared to have been drunk or drugged for some time. Slurred speech, strange behavior - things that could easily have been attributed to either being under the influence, or the aftermath of a stroke.

But it's so much easier to point to the seamier side of things - that she was under the influence, because it's more salacious and interesting that way, right? So many people have said that she obviously killed herself, or that she OD'd. Maybe she did - it's being reported now that police carried an unreported number of bags of evidence from her room. They'd be doing the same for any of us who brought luggage and moved into a room. Maybe we've grown so cynical and used to people doing this to ourselves that the first reaction has to be drugs and alcohol.

After all, look at the car accident Brandy (the R&B singer) was in that ended in the death of a woman. When the news broke people were sure that Brandy was drunk, or on drugs. The next idea was that she was yakking on her cell phone. Yet, she wasn't on any drugs and she wasn't drunk and she wasn't using her cell phone. She simply failed to stop her car - no one knows why, and we probably wouldn't have answers either if we were in her place. It's just one of those inexplicable sad things that happens.

Kind of like Anna Nicole Smith's life. It's an inexplicable thing. It was filled with controversy, and second guessing about everything she did. And it was sad. And so is her death, no matter the method or reason it came about. I just find it rather tasteless that people have to immediately start speculating that she killed herself, or start believing the gossip rags as reliable sources of information.

*sigh* I really feel bad for that poor little girl whose paternity is going to be challenged and fought over until a DNA test is finally performed because millions of dollars are at stake, and both of those men want control over it. It breaks my heart because while we hope she'll have a better life than her mother did, it's not likely at this point. Not with a start like this.

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm sorry I ended this one with a downer.