I made the mistake of reading an article the other day on msnbc.com, one of the most frustrating news sources imaginable, in my opinion. (For unknown reasons I haven’t been able to make myself switch to something different.) Apparently, Clark Gable’s 22-year-old grandson is an aspiring actor, and he was arrested for messing around with a laser-pointer. Then his sister arranged for his bail and got his release covered by media as a publicity stunt.
(Disclaimer: MSNBC is not the original source of this article, it's just where I read it. Its copyright is listed as Reuters, and I believe the writer Daniel Frankel works for The Wrap, so it's a bit confusing and when I target msnbc.com, it's just just because they're the news source I first saw that allowed this article to be relayed.)
I don’t know where to begin with this.
No wait, yes I do.
- This is not newsworthy information, and should never have been written or published. Maybe that sounds harsh, but it’s just the truth. I cannot imagine anyone actually being curious about this news, but the simple act of publishing it turns a stupid story about a nobody who is 2 generations removed from greatness into something that we think we’re supposed to care about. Shame on Daniel Frankel for writing this crap, and shame on editor-in-chief Jennifer Sizemore for allowing it to go ahead.
- But what am I doing, blaming MSNBC for this article, when the original source of the information is the referenced-4-times CNN? Well in that case, I still say shame on you MSNBC for thinking that you should report a stupid story just because someone else did.
- Frankel fails to even remain objective in this piece, noting that while Gable did not authorize the stunt to have him released in front of cameras, he “was -- understandably -- OK with the outcome.” Why is it understandable? Would Mr. Frankel care to elaborate on that editorialization? No, apparently not. And wait, what is the “outcome” of it anyway? Is the outcome having his little story reported across the country by journalists who really should know better? Because if that’s the case, then Mr. Frankel, you’re just part of the problem.
- What stuck out most to me, though, was the description of Gable’s sister Kayley, “herself an aspiring celebrity.” An aspiring celebrity. What the hell does that even mean? She wants to be famous for nothing? A celebrity is by definition someone who is widely known, though it
is usuallyused to be accompanied by some sort of skill, action, or otherwise reasonable claim to fame. All that Daniel Frankel, MSNBC, and CNN have done with this little puff piece is actively contribute to the advancement of Kayley’s career as a no-talent, no-skill, attention whore with a famous grandpa.
I’m sad that even by clicking the link and reading the article, I contributed to the rampant problem of celebrity without cause, more commonly perpetuated by reality television. I’m just a little bit ashamed of my own curiosity that made me read the piece. Not as ashamed as Mr. Frankel should feel for writing it, but nonetheless.
What happened to us? Why do we reward nothing with everything? The nature of the news media’s relationship with its audience is that we take for granted that the people giving us the news have some sort of authority. I fear that time is growing close when we will have to stop giving them that credit, when we’ll have to open up the newspaper (or news website) and close it right away for its being so thoroughly un-enriching to our lives. Someday soon, we’re gonna have to look the news providers in the eye, tell them, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” and walk out the door. Otherwise we let the
terrorists celebrities win.