What’s the bigger story: Iraq versus Anna Nicole Smith?

February 11, 2007 | By | 13 Replies More

You guessed it.   See here for Mother Jones’ tabulations.   On MSNBC it was Anna Nicole Smith by a 7 to 1 ratio.


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Category: Entertainment, Iraq, Media, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (13)

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  1. Cleptomanx says:

    You know… I can never figure out why you seem to have such a problem when the media covers anything but the war. I mean, you don't understand the interest in the Anna Nicole Smith story?

    Think about it. She married an old codger of a millionaire and boffed him to death thus earning (and I do believe she earned every penny. Did you see that guy?) the fortune. Then going through family battles over the money for years, then losing a kid, just when having another and then dying herself in an odd manner. Thus leaving the whole sham up in the air with possibly the undetermined father of her child lurking to swoop in and take the brass ring.

    This story is base sensationalism at its best and you have a problem with the media covering it more than the war. The war which everyone has already had their fill of. The war which basically reports the ever increasing death-rate because everything else has already been said LONG LONG AGO. The war which I can't possibly care about anymore because those in power continue to bicker over a next step and will probably just end up tossing more troops at the problem.

    I'd rather see a story about a three-legged beagle licking his own balls than see another story about the war. I mean really! Is there anything new to report?! Is there?! I swear, I really gotta wonder about you sometimes.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    They don't need more stories about Iraq than they currently publish. They simply need stories that are more meaningful, where the reporters approach the story aggressively with passion and skepticism, and where they report with conviction and flair, like the sports reporters reports on sports. Come on! It's a needless war and people are dying. Give a damn and don't act like stenographers for the White House.

    I agree that Anna Nicole Smith's death is a legitimate story. Put it on the bottom of page 23 and you'll get no flack from me.

  3. Cleptomanx says:

    No argument that it's a needless war, but does it occur to you possibly that the reporters that are ballsy enough to get close enough to the story that you want to read, may also not be skilled enough to write the compelling article that you want?

    Maybe these reporter honestly suck and are only as good as their average co-workers. On occassion I'll read my local newspaper which has many national AP stories printed and I gotta admit I never really get moved by "Two Killed in Kirkuk car bomb strike" or "Warming sparks new environment body" (both AP).

    Maybe I'm not gettin the highest caliber stories here, but I get the feeling that you're not really looking for news stories as much as Editorials. You're looking for newsmen who write articles with a biased slant and message as opposed to just the facts.

    It's the difference between,

    "A series of car bombs struck… killing at least 2 people and wounding 30"


    "2 Soldiers dies in yet another car bomb attack thus increasing the death toll on this needless war"

    The first just states some fact, while the second includes the writer's spin.

    It seem like you're looking for the spin as opposed to the just the facts. I honestly feel for you man, and know that there are a lot of smaller papers and online sites who have this kind of reporting, but more established writers and on-air personalities just don't give into this type of reporting (well, not the good ones at least)… and when they do, it's usually to do an emotional fluff piece for an ineffectual editorial to boost some ratings.

    Can you tell I don't care for the media much 😉 Anyway, I watch the news programs and read some stories, but I don't really put too much stock in the writing or performing. I just try to get the general facts they are conveying and move on because I really just don't care. It's a sham war and no one can do anything about it because we're too far in and there isn't any right answers anymore.

    We screwed this chick without a condom and now she's pregnant. We can abort the kid (completely cut off ties), try to put it up for adoption (get others to take over the situation), or decide to raise the kid (always be there to police and have a presense there for the forseeable future).

    That's about it. There's not much else to say about it, so why do I need another redundant article about the war?

  4. Devi says:

    It is an issue of importance, and therefore value. Ms. Smith's life had little or no affect on my life, or indeed, on the lives of anyone I know. Iraq, on the other hand, affects every one of us every single day, no matter how removed we are from that war. There are several previous posts on the issue: My favorites are:

    http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=395 http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=1039 http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=976 http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=914 http://dangerousintersection.org/?p=836

    Sometimes things have to be said often enough to get people who marquerade as bumps on logs to wake up and take action. It's not redundant until that happens.

  5. Cleptomanx says:

    OMG! I mean… I don't even know what I mean anymore. It's like I'm yelling at brick walls here.

    Look… everything you've said and all those articles said and anything that news folk are currently saying in opposition to the war was already stated much more eloquently and forcefully by Michael Moore in 2004 in his documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11".

    Everything said after this movie has been both redundant and ineffectual. If this movie wasn't able to fuel the masses to stop being "bumps on logs and take action", then nothing will and honestly nothing should.

    The movie layed everything out beautifully and the public enjoyed it, but didn't do anything about it, so we deserve to be lemmings falling all the cliff. Majority rules in Democracy and the majority of our fellow Americans may say they care, but they obviously don't. So, I defer to the masses and choose not to care as well. Maybe it will eventually change when the american soldier death toll gets up to 4 or 5000, I really don't know.

    Hell, if you guys want more reporters to do more editorials beating a dead horse, that's fine. But, I voted against Bush twice and got upset twice, but afterwards I didn't pick up a sign advocating Bush's abdication of the thrown because I'm an American and am also governed by Democracy. I can hate the man, but I still have to follow his decrees because that's what the Majority of the country wanted. That's it! So, stop being whiny bitches thinking that another report on the war is going to change something and just relax and read about a dumb, wannabe starlet's death.

  6. Mr. Smug says:

    I hear ya loud and clear Clepto. It's called a disagreement of minds (not yelling at brick wall). If you were the dictator (GW Bush?), then yes, I would be obliged to agree with your last post.

    What you say may indeed be true (we are just wasting our time), but that does not make it wrong to continue to publicize the war. Not many people saw Fahrenheit 9/11, and further, most Americans consider Moore an extremist. Not many people know what is happening in Iraq.

    What if we (America) really did want to stop the war…it doesn't look like the President would allow us to stop it anyway. Practice time is over, the story needs to be told!!!

  7. grumpypilgrim says:

    Cleptomanx wrote: "No argument that it’s a needless war, but does it occur to you possibly that the reporters that are ballsy enough to get close enough to the story that you want to read, may also not be skilled enough to write the compelling article that you want?"

    Writing a "ballsy" story requires neither terribly great writing skill nor deep investigative resources; it merely requires asking challenging questions that should be screamingly obvious to anyone. Questions such as: when Bush claims (as he has done for nearly six years now) that he is "winning the war on terrorism" or "making progress in Iraq," or that "Americans are safer now than they were before 9/11," by what metric is he measuring his performance? Why should anyone believe his apparently baseless, yet obviously self-serving, claims? Good journalism isn't necessarily about getting embedded in a front-line military unit and taking the risk of having your head blown off. It's just about saying what needs to be said.

    Cleptomanx continues: "I can hate the man [Bush], but I still have to follow his decrees because that’s what the Majority of the country wanted. That’s it!"

    No, that's emphatically NOT it. The Majority is very often wrong (especially when it is guided by an incompetent, self-serving fool like George Bush) but it will rarely change if left to itself. That's why it is up to individuals to take a stand against a misguided Majority. That's what Rosa Parks did when she opposed segregation on a public bus. It's what Nelson Mandela did when he opposed aparthied in South Africa and spent 27 years in prison. Heck, it's what the Founding Fathers of America did when they signed the Declaration of Independence.

    Indeed, why do you think the Founding Fathers created three co-equal branches of government, instead of just letting Majority rule decide everything? It's because they knew that a Majority can be just as tyrannical, just as bigoted, and just as evil as can a lone dictator. If you are on a burning ship and The Majority says everything is fine, do you take action to try to save lives (even if just your own), or do you just sit still until you burn up with everyone else, just because The Majority says so?

    Wake up and smell the coffee, Cleptomanx: the only lemmings in a society are the ones who blindly follow "the Majority."

  8. Cleptomanx says:

    That's exactly the naivety I would expect from spending a little time around here lol. Yeah, I'm definitely quite tired of listening to the wide-eyed rhetoric that pervades this entire board.

    Yeah! That's right! One person can save the world! Look at Martin Luther King jr. or Mahatma Ghandi, etc, etc. God, what total obliviousness to think that we live in the same world now as those people did then.

    Before I go, let me shed a little light on why these examples don't apply anymore. You see, during those days coverage of stories was practically non-existent and people had nothing else to do, but to get behind a movement. Rosa Parks was a spark that led to a wonderful blaze of civil rebellion, but that just can't happen in the America of today.

    Why? You ask… because we all have a voice! Does that concept seem a bit strange to you? Like, "If we all have a voice in this society, then we should be able to do more than those before us." WRONG! We live in a world drowning in the uninspired and ignorant opinions of the masses. There are any number of "movements", "causes" or "good deeds" to get behind which means that there is no longer the ability to get behind one clear and substantial cause.

    "Let's save the environment!" (Cut into 1200 different groups with their own strategy for handling the issue)

    "Let's save children in 3rd world countries!" (Cut into 1200 different groups with their own strategy for handling the issue)

    "Let's do something about the War!" (Cut into 1200 different groups with their own strategy for handling the issue)

    "Let's do something about South American drug cartels or Conflict Diamonds or Fast Food companies getting us fat or TV rotting our minds or… WHATEVER!

    For any number of issues there's a PETA or AA or Weight Watchers or The "Bodunk" Anorexic girls with too much money Society.

    Let's put it this way. Let us for a moment just say that we knew for a fact that the Christian God was actually the one true God and everything was actually as it is in the Bible (Ten Commandments and such). If these things were held as truly self-evident then the greatest trick that the Devil ever pulled was the proliferation of all the 100s (if not 1000's) of other religious beliefs in the world.

    It's the old lawyer trick… when a big firm is battling a smaller one in a case, don't withold information, just bury the competition in paper then hide the truth somewhere inside.

    You guys may think you know what issues should be discussed and which ones should be ignored, but I guarantee for every ONE of you there are a MILLION others who ignore your issues and focus on others. We are drowning in the opinions of the MAJORITY, which is why the MAJORITY will be followed because it's too much work and hassle to dig through all the paperwork to find the issues that you guys care about.

    When America comes home from work, they don't go digging for a blog like this, they click on the tube and listen to the latest news stories. Sorry, grumpy, but you're just going to have to stay gumpy because this isn't your grand-daddy's world anymore. We've got too much to deal with without also dealing with your holier-than-though crap!

    Anyway, I'm done dealing with you idealistic social deficients. Do yourselves a favor and take a sledgehammer to your noggins so you can come back down to earth and actually live in the reality that the rest of us live in.

    Good bye and Good Luck to you all, because I'm sure that two seconds after I make this post it's just going to be ignored as, "some idiot's rantings…" because the obvious always seems to slip off your backs like water off a duck. My arms are tired from dumping the water, maybe someone else will be able to crack those nutshell brains of yours.

  9. grumpypilgrim says:

    Each of us has a choice: we can be like Cleptomanx, believe that the world will never be any better than it is today and just accept whatever gets dumped on us, or we can try to make improvements. I prefer the latter, and I shudder to think of where I might be today if I lived according to Cleptomanx's cynicism.

  10. Dan Klarmann says:

    Clepto's best point yet! Perhaps he has found the reason that celebrity for celebrity's sake is the number one obsession in the media.

    Fungible attention. It's too much work to figure out which of the dozens of important issues (and thousands of sub-issues) are worth putting your attention into. If you focus on why who wore what when to which awards show for its faction of the media, then you don't have to worry that you may be backing the wrong pro/anti {War, economy, environment, education, morality laws, public safety, …} group.

    On the activist side, there is serious balkanization among causes. The conservatives have it easy: The biggest group simply says, "You are with us or against us." You will be assimilated.

    Issues can be complex. I'm in an aldermanic ward with an open seat that is hotly contested for the coming March election. The 3 most visible candidates are hard to tell apart. Well, one is cutest, ethnicity is distributed, one is richest, one has the most experience, one is youngest and energetic, one has done nothing anyone can nail him for,…

    Issues? As with the high profile federal offices, you can't actually tell what a candidate will do until they are in the seat. You have to elect on promises. Yet the published promises are generally either vague or have gaping escape clauses.

    Let's just wonder about who killed J.R. I mean Ms. Smith.

  11. Erich Vieth says:

    I STILL think that the dozens of important issues surrounding Iraq should be all over the front page, even when a famous self-destructive tart dies.

    The issue raised by the post immediately above seems to be whether to stop trying in the face of intimidating odds. I say don't stop trying. Here's my prejudice: Get off the couch!  Write those letters and articles to politicians and the media, attend marches and rallies, have those difficult talks with friends who don't get it, get involved with your government, stay informed and try to make a difference.

    That said, Cleptomanx makes a good point regarding the limits of the human attention span and its consequences.   We are awash in so much stuff (much of it worthy of our attention) that it paralyzes us.    Who ever said that we have the capacity to care in all important regards?   We clearly don't.

    Luckily, there are a lot of us.  If more of us would try, we would have more people incrementally making the country run functionally and fewer people messing things up.  

  12. Dr. Smug says:

    You had me at "aldermanic".

    Oddly enough Cleppy, I think some people do go searching for websites like this. Just that human curiosity thing rearing its head. I don't mean this site specifically, since there are indeed millions of blogs to choose from. Each person who comes here has a unique reaction. That seems to be part of the fun for the regulars here… observing (or interacting) as random folks come along and voice their opinion on the issues of the day. The visitors (me included) end up realizng very quickly that they can't just type anything here without being soundly lambasted for any half-truths or sour-puss attitudes presented. 🙂

    I think I want to learn how to make a website (suggestions welcome).

  13. Erich Vieth says:

    What's more important? The way the U.S. is failing to provide medical care to its returning soldiers or Anna Nicole Smith three weeks after her death?

    You guessed it.  Here's today's report from Think Progress:

    Both MSNBC and Fox News devoted more coverage to Anna Nicole Smith — three weeks after her death on Feb. 8 — than they did to the multiple developments involving the neglect and deplorable conditions at Walter Reed military hospital.

    The most lop-sided coverage by far was aired by Fox News, which featured only 10 references to Walter Reed compared to 121 of Anna Nicole — roughly 12 times the coverage. MSNBC featured 84 references to Walter Reed and 96 to Anna Nicole.

    For the full report, see here.

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