Paris is Free … Whoopee!

Here’s a little known secret about TV news. Often local news is looked down upon when compared with the giants of network and cable news. We on the local side are often called formula-driven in our presentation — and accused of playing to the lowest common denominator. This morning, an example of the big boys calling the kettle black.

You were not up at 3am. Unfortunately, I was. I was heading to work and listening to the cable news channels on my XM radio. I listened as they broke into programming with live coverage of Paris Hilton’s release from prison. If you know me or have read my blog you know how I feel about Paris Hilton. If not, let me say this: She is the epitome of the term “famous for being famous”.

While Hilton doesn’t deserve much more commentary than that, the way her released was covered by the so-called “networks” – cable and broadcast – border on the absurd. Cameras and paparazzi capturing her as she walked to her car along a police-made runway ( and what was up with her arms hanging down and not moving? ), her Escalade being followed by choppers like it was the O.J. chase and her car being swarmed by photographers every time her entourage hit a stop light. All the while, so-called experts speculating on everything from her “next move” to whether she was indeed a “changed woman” to her final destination this morning.

Yes, we did show video of Hilton being released from prison – a whole 30 seconds – and if you were watching, you could tell there was a tongue-in-cheek quality to our commentary, but the cable nets were overboard. Hours of coverage along with hours of rambling and drivel passing for commentary.

To be honest, I felt like I was watching a parody of a newscast watching these people cover this non-story. Maybe I just don’t get the “Paris” thing. Maybe I just think there are more important things in the world. Whatever, I probably have blown my chance to work at Fox News or CNN. Then again, I’m quite content with the work we do here – and the proportion of time we give to Paris Hilton.
( Photo courtesy: Associated Press )

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