In many ways, the postmodern mainstream media has become nothing more than a joke. Can you really believe the mainstream media considered Anderson Cooper’s announcement that he’s gay as “breaking news”? Are you kidding me? Why should the American people care about what man Anderson Cooper is having sex with in the privacy of his own home? Even though there are Americans who love to hear things of this nature, this does not warrant Anderson Cooper’s bedroom being brought into our homes. We need a new vision of journalism that focuses on critical issues, challenges, and problems facing America.
In Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Fredric Jameson posits that postmodernism, the historical and cultural epoch in which we reside, is characterized by an intense self-referentiality. For Jameson, we live in a historical moment where there’s more emphasis on the fragment (the personal narrative) instead of on the totality (the collective narrative). This is why we see the mainstream media having a fascination with one of its own, Anderson Cooper, and not with solemnly engaging meaningful and broader questions and issues about sexuality. When we discuss sexuality through the lens of Anderson Cooper, we’re really not talking about sexuality at all—we’re simply talking about Anderson Cooper.
The mainstream media, however, attempted to present to us the coverage of Anderson Cooper’s disclosure that he’s gay as a substantive treatment of sexuality. The only person who benefitted from this coverage was Anderson Cooper. Of course, you know he’s going to pen a book about his decision to unveil he’s gay. The end result of the coverage of Anderson Cooper’s announcement that he’s gay is another rich White man becomes richer. The mainstream media commodified sexuality through using Anderson Cooper’s announcement, which allows him to sell his commodified sexuality to those who will be interested in knowing more about it.
Let’s not forget we’re a nation still at war. We have a high national unemployment rate and the unemployment rate is much higher in many states. Yet, the mainstream media elects to consume a significant amount of time and space covering Anderson Cooper’s sexuality. I guess the mainstream media hoped to stimulate the economy by informing us how what’s in Anderson Cooper’s pants gets stimulated. What I do know for sure is this is not quality journalism.
Is the mainstream media willing to do anything to get viewers and readers? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Sensationalism in the postmodern mainstream media is exponentially snowballing.
On Twitter, some people tweeted that Anderson Cooper’s divulging that he’s gay is significant for the LGBTI community. His high visibility was determined to be the reason why this was vital “news.” Again, the only person who is going to benefit from this “news” is Anderson Cooper. I would expect this type of coverage on Anderson Cooper’s sexuality on a blog. I would like to think, however, that it would not occupy serious time and space in the mainstream media.
America is experiencing a waning of earnest journalism. American journalism is increasingly being commodified and dominated by the spectacle and self-referentiality. If the American people don’t demand the mainstream media to concentrate on substantive phenomena, then we will continue to be bombarded with sensationalistic “news” coverage.
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