January 29th, 2007


Celebrity News Displaces "Real" News

My sympathies to Angelina Jolie for the loss of her mother to cancer, but I think she would agree with me that this news doesn't belong in the top section of CNN's main web page, 9th headline from the top. That's what the Entertainment section is for. I'm sure Hollywood stars appreciate publicity, but even they have to wonder how news of their lives has reached this level of prominence. Once upon a time one had to read the gossip column or an entertainment magazine to get this kind of information. Now, even those of us who normally don't wish to follow every development in the personal relationships of the stars are bombarded with it. Does anyone else wonder what news gets displaced by such reporting? Is there anyway to stuff this particular genie back in his or her entertainment news bottle?

I suggest we all start writing to our favorite news media outlets and urge them to put this type of news back where it belongs and return to substantive reporting of the events that are currently unfolding in these turbulent times. History is being made--but will the future judge us for being so preoccupied with Brangelina and Madonna's adoption that we failed to pay attention?

Deliberate Distraction?

Regarding my earlier post about celebrity news displacing real news, and a comment about the new addition of animal stories at the top of CNN's main page (I also noticed two other animal stories), I go back to CNN and notice that farther down the page there's a story about the latest in the Scooter Libby trial. Shouldn't this be one of the top stories? The article points out that Libby's defense team is asking why the former White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, received immunity for his testimony. Isn't this a question worthy of greater attention?

Personally I am frustrated that it has taken so long for this to come to trial. Media attention has died down and it seems like many have forgotten Plamegate.

Update: Mystery within a mystery

Previously I wrote about a family murder mystery that I grew up hearing about. I last had a conversation about it with the wife of the victim's son in 2004 where I again heard the standard version--his father was found shot by a gas station, children parceled out among family members, my cousin raised with my grandmother and aunt as a sibling--all the usual details.

Imagine my surprise when I inquire from the newspaper as to the facts of the case, thinking I might get microfilm of an article about the murder--and instead, I learn this (I'm omitting some names for privacy):

I did some digging around this morning and made a few discoveries.

There is no murder investigation file at the Scotland County Sheriff's Department (which serves the entire county including the City of Memphis.

There were two newspapers in town at that time, The Memphis (Mo.) Reveille and the Memphis (Mo.) Democrat. The later had actually bought the other out and would soon consolidate to the Memphis Democrat. However, at that time, both were still be published, however they had pretty much the same contents since they were done by the same staff.

I checked with Gerth & Baskett Funeral Home. They have a record of the service that stated Mr. Paris passed away July 21, 1961.

I then went to the library and was able to find his obituary on microfilm. There is no mention of any foul play. In the following weeks paper there is a small thank you ad from the family.

I made some phone calls to some local folks I know who were around 45 years ago.

One contact I made was [name withheld], whose uncle owned Charlie's Super Service Station, which is located along Highway 136 (and is still there but out of operation - was last operated as Junction Petro) Mr. [ ] worked with Mr. Paris. He indicated that Mr. Paris died of a heart attack. He added that he had apparently attempted to commit suicide some years before and had shot himself in the face, leaving himself scarred with the gunshot wound(s).

If I can be of any further assistance, please let me know.

[name withheld]
publisher ___ newspaper

In retrospect, it makes more sense given the timing if the children were divided up after the earlier suicide attempt than as late as 1961, when my cousin ("Uncle George") was an adult.

I am passing this information along to the daughter-in-law and grandson of the deceased Mr. Paris. His son already passed away.

I suspect that the story was altered to avoid the stigma of suicide. How sad...it makes me wonder how he was treated after his attempt.

The plot thickens--two brothers found dead in the night?

So I was convinced that it was a family cover up, so typical of our family, and I called my Aunt Pauline expecting to break the news to her that we'd all been fed a pack of lies. Little did I know the story was about to take a strange turn. I wrote this email reply to my informant:Collapse )
So, the plot thickens...gambling at night in a box factory. Murdered over debts? Cheating? We'll see. Tomorrow I'll see what records the police have.