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Sunday, December 31, 2006


I did what millions of Americans have done by now: viewed an underwear-free Britney Spears getting out of a limo and Saddam Hussein at the end of a rope.

Neither was a pretty picture.

When I was a Communications major in the '70s at TCFKAGS (The College Formerly Known as Glassboro State), one of my professors taught us the phrase "media gatekeeper." That, he explained, was what we Comm majors were studying to become. The media professionals in the "real world" -- writers, photographers, editors, TV, radio and film people -- were the "gatekeepers" who decided what the public was going to see, or NOT see, via their repective mediums.

Today, it seems like an elitist concept -- one rendered thoroughly outmoded by the World Wide Web.

There was a time when a news event with a nasty outcome caught on film would throw the gatekeepers into frantic debate. One that comes to mind was the time, more than a decade back, a public figure took his life during a meeting at which news photographers and videographers were present. The video was particularly graphic and disturbing. Of course, that footage was never aired.

Today, it would get five stars on Google Video Search.

The gatekeeper is dead. Long live the gatekeeper.


Blogger margaret said...

I don't think I could have put it better myself. One of the editors at APP, whom I do admire greatly, made a comment on a blog that Laura Bush should have told us about her skin cancer, and if you're in the public eye, you should know the rules (I'm paraphrasing). It was a shock to me, but I guess it shouldn't have been.
Following the lives of Britney Spears and Parish Hilton has reduced journalism to titillating, ridiculous, mind-numbing gossip. Some things should remain private.

I will not watch the execution of Saddam Hussein, either. Thanks for your insights.

5:58 AM, January 03, 2007  
Blogger margaret said...

...Wish her name was Parish (I meant Paris). It would give some sort of dignity to the woman, albeit superficially.

5:59 AM, January 03, 2007  
Anonymous gail jeanne mcgillicuddy said...

I believe in the gate keeper. Isn't life just gross enough already. The way the internet and CNN keep shoiwng the phone camera shots over and over and over again, while questioning "why are we doing this......why is this upsetting to some......"leads me to agree with you Mark. Thje Gatekeeper is Dead. Indeed.

Thus the floodgates of filth are open us. Serves no purpose except for the instant gratification of the looki-loos. Titles the need for instant gratificaction, but then thus filth has nothing to do but wallow in the bowels of your mind. How emotionally healthy is that?

1:27 AM, January 04, 2007  

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