Let's make a list of Media Moments

(Mods: Not sure on right forum, etc.)

I’m only 20 so I haven’t been able to witness the gradual decline of the broadcast media. It’s been like this as far as I know. To be specific, let’s talk about a “media moment.” I’m not sure on an exact definition, but usually when it’s over most people will sigh with relief and exclaim, “Wow! What will the news cover now?” Michael Jackson is only the latest media moment. There will be a short lived vacuum before the next swirling circus.

A media moment doesn’t necessarily have bad connotations. However, most share a very screwed up world importance to airtime ratio, often to the exclusion of actual events or important matters that should be discussed. You know, news? Then we have Britney Spears getting married in Vegas. OK, sure, it’s news. But if we’re following their every move and listening to their dumb sound clips and discussing their future a week later, something is wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when the media does an acceptable job, although even then I would question the details and the lack of depth. Maybe I am spoiled by the internet in general. A few ‘good’ examples I can think of are stem cells and the coverage of North Korea.

So what I thought an amusing project, or image, or whatever would be a timeline graphing out the media moments over the previous, say, 10 years. I haven’t been able to find any online. So either someone should do it or…the next best thing…remind us all of what they are. My memory gets very fuzzy trying to look into the murky, pre 9/11 newscape. I can’t believe I was only 15 in 2000, it seems like it was just last week!

But here’s are good examples of what I’m talking about:

Elizabeth Smart, et. al. (multiple white women/girl category, latest: Aruba)
Janet Jackson’s titty (I could have said wardrobe malfunction but c’mon, titty is a fun word)
Oh my god, the gays are destroying society as we know it
Martha Stewart is going to jail, let’s make prison bitch jokes
Shark attacks
Beltway snipers
Duct tape shall save us, along with a colored picture (well meaning, can’t really blame media…)
Gary Condit and Chandra Levy (remember him? 9/11 saved his rear end)
Internet pedos will get your kids
Computer viruses take over
Videogames turn kids into murderers (see: school shooting scapegoat on mass scale)
Anthrax will get you, boil your mail
The year 2000 marks the end of mankind as we know it (THIS I remember clearly; why, airplanes will simply drop out of the sky! Back to you, Bob.)

We could make a modest compilation.

The JFK assassination coverage, the moon landing, and 9-11 are the big three in the US.

Monica Lewinsky.
OJ Simpson.


Challenger. I was very little when it happened, but my dad woke me up the morning of the Columbia explosion by telling me about it. I was pretty upset that day.

I’m not so sure about the Columbia disaster (I was far too young for the Challenger). It didn’t really hang around that long in the news, as far as I recall.

Columbia was a media burp. Challenger was a much, much bigger deal. I think that’s part of the reason Columbia was such a non-event.
Does Viet Nam count?

Princess Diana - The Wedding & The Death

Clinton’s impeachment
Iran hostages
Pope’s deathwatch
Elian Gonzalez
San Francisco earthquake
2004 tsunami
comet slamming into Jupiter
various hurricanes
RFK and MLK assassinations

I watched that one as it happened. I had a cold, and didn’t go to school that day. It was horrifying.

Another one which sticks in my mind is the crash of TWA Flight 800, because I was supposed to be on that flight, but changed my reservation at the last minute.

Certainly. Especially the end.
Helicopters taking off from the rooftops of Saigon.
Helicopters being tossed overboard from aircraft carriers.

So, are these media moments that are significant (JFK, 9/11) or insignificant and treated as important (O.J., Jacko, pretty-white-woman-gone-missing of the week)? If significant, I’ll toss out the Reagan attemped assassination – and Al Haig’s “I’m in charge here” as a bonus.

Elian Gonzalez is an excellent example. I didn’t think of that for some reason.