Betcha Big Media was really embarrassed when Mother Teresa died.
You might remember that Mother Teresa, a nun, dedicated her life to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. In addition to spending 65 years of her life caring for the destitute, she started her own religious order to extend that care throughout the world. She was a Nobel peace prize winner, was beatified by the Pope and is a candidate for sainthood.
She also had the misfortune (or perhaps, good fortune!) of dying 5 days after Princess Diana died. Princess Diana was a media gem: beautiful, elegant, royal even after her divorce from Prince Charles, and an advocate of popular causes. Mostly she was young. Diana had sex appeal.
The media coverage following her death was non-stop. Millions mourned, even more millions of flowers were laid at her home, and the pageantry of her funeral may have exceeded the pageantry of her wedding.
Then Mother Teresa had to buy the farm just as the Diana festivities were really revving up. It must have been quite the guilt trip for Big Media, who got a sudden reality smack right in the head and then tried to rationalize the frenzy of the previous week in the face of real nobility. I recall Mother Teresa getting maybe a three-day story wave before media interest died off. Mother Teresa was, of course, old and not so pretty as Diana. Mother Teresa wasn’t good for 30-second sound bites. Yet, if it hadn’t been for the way over-the-top coverage of Diana, Mother Teresa might have gotten a day’s coverage at best.
This sequence of deaths in 1997 was a vivid reminder of Big Media’s sellout to whatever titillates. It was also around that time that I lost interest in television’s so-called “news” coverage.
If Anna Nicole Smith’s boobs were half as large, would Big Media have had half the interest?