Donny Deutsch doesn’t get it: Thoughts on Michael Jackson

Today, on the Ed Show, former advertising executive Donny Deutsch declared that Michael Jackson’s death has been over covered by the media.  He said that Michael Jackson was just “a good singer and dancer.”
You can see the full video here.  Hopefully, I’ll learn to post MSNBC video on wordpress.

Deutsch was on MSNBC to discuss Michael Jackson’s effect on the music business. Instead, he took his time on the show to go on a rant about how Michael Jackson’s death has been covered, and how the media is not covering the deaths of many men and women who have “done more for society.”  Deutsch seems to believe that 1.6 million people tried to get tickets to Jackson’s memorial because of the attention paid by the media. He seemed to believe that the 5 million people who streamed his memorial on youtube, did so because of over-exposure of the media. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t get it.

What I have learned over the past two weeks is that Michael Jackson was loved because he and his music reached through various barriers and touched his listeners’ heart.  The media coverage is a response to the intense interest by people around the world.

As a former ad exec, Deutsch probably sees Michael Jackson as a well marketed product.  He exemplifies the biggest problem with modern business, the commoditization of those things which cannot be given extrinsic value.  Why was Michael Jackson a global superstar? I don’t know. I imagine there is no one answer, but he was able to dominate popular culture for 20 years, and has fans in every age bracket.  Ought the coverage taper away? Yes. The memorial is over, and the media should shift back into normal coverage mode.  But that doesn’t negate the fact that Michael Jackson joins the ranks of cultural icons who require a public grieving process.

Deutsch tried to show that Jackson’s death received too much coverage by highlighting activists, soldiers, and doctors who died the same weekend that Jackson died but received no national media coverage.  The fact is that many heroes do not receive the accolades they deserve. This does not diminish the fact that Michael Jackson had a significant cultural impact on billions (yes billions) of people around the world.  His talent, music, and ambition blossomed at a time when distributing popular culture was easier than ever, and his tours fascinated fans all around the world. He gave these people joy, hope, inspiration, and much more.

On those allegations:

Peter King said of Michael Jackson: “This guy was a pervert, he was a child molester, he was a pedophile.”

We all know that many rumors and allegations swirled around Michael Jackson.  We also know that he was undoubtedly a strange guy.  But there are two much more important facts: 1) he went to trial and was not found guilty 2) he is now deceased.

On exaggeration:

At the memorial service, Magic Johnson said that sitting down to eat fried chicken with Michael Jackson was the best moment of his life.  We have also heard that Michael Jackson was the best [singer, dancer, performer, entertainer, etc] ever. I understand that people are honoring his memory, but is it really necessary to deify him? He was REALLY good, at many things, but the rhetoric (especially on the 24 hour news channels) has become ludicrous. Just saying.

This was the most important moment of the entire memorial service for Michael Jackson:

I enjoyed this snappy tweet from MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer.


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