The usual bread and butter of trash media is the nip slips of pop tartlets. Lately these ferocious attack cameras have shifted their focus to looking up the metaphorical skirts of crooked companies.
It was TMZ that first reported tax-dollar vampire Northern Trust hosted lavish parties in Southern California that included Tiffany gift bags and performances by Chicago and Sheryl Crow.
Love or hate the entertainment bottom feeders of American media, they've got an acute sense of their audience.
Yes, those were tabloid shows "Extra" and "Inside Edition" you saw covering Bernard Madoff pleading guilty to a massive Ponzi scheme on Thursday, March 12. The tabs muster up venom to spare for the crooks who may have driven the U.S. economy into a nosedive.
Love or hate the entertainment bottom feeders of American media, they've got an acute sense of their audience. They capitalized on a brewing frustration with the economy bubbling inside the country's jobless, who watched our government offer big checks to corporations. These shows and sites prompted mainstream outlets to resume doing their jobs and to uncover further over-the-top expenditures (how about $165 million in bonuses for AIG execs?) by companies with your money in their pockets.
For years we've bemoaned the death of traditional journalistic values and the slow fade of the newspaper. Tabloids are reminding journalists everywhere that their most important role is that of the vigilant watchdog.
Jim Cramer's Not Laughing
In yet another instance of entertainment media taking on the fat cats, funnyman Jon Stewart humiliated financial commentator Jim Cramer on "The Daily Show" last week. And though there were a lot of excellent quotes from Stewart, this one's my favorite: "We are both snake oil salesmen to a certain extent, but we do label the show as snake oil here. Isn't there a problem with selling snake oil and labeling it as vitamin tonic and saying that it cures impetigo?”
But "The Daily Show" went from snake oil salesman to X-ray technician last week when it examined the nasty guts of Cramer’s "Mad Money" and its failure to hold Wall Street accountable. Based on Stewart's interview evisceration, a group of economists and activists wrote a letter to CNBC demanding the network take on a watchdog role during these times of economic crash-and-burn. "You willfully passed on misinformation to the public for years, helping to get us into the economic crisis we face today," criticizes the letter. "You screwed up badly. Don't apologize—fix it!"
"The Daily Show" went from snake oil salesman to X-ray technician last week.
Not a bad few weeks for infotainment.