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It's almost a truism: "That person just got their '15-minutes' -- hope they make the most of it." They usually don't.

Andy Warhol's '15 minutes' of fame are not up yet

by Katherine Dorsett Bennett, CNN -- Sept 5, 2012

(CNN) -- Iconic Pop artist Andy Warhol is often quoted for his statement, "In the future, everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." Twenty-five years after his death, his influence on contemporary art has well surpassed the 15-minute mark.

When once asked why he painted the soup cans, Warhol noted, "I used to have the same (Campbell's soup) lunch every day for 20 years."

He was also known to say, "I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and that was it." His unique style of artistic expression and world view is credited for launching his career and the Pop art movement.

Art collectors have paid millions of dollars for some of Warhol's pieces [...]

Such is the nature of "fleeting fame" -- some investors will pay millions just to be able to drop its name in their living rooms. Hoping that by possessing it (the trappings of fame), that they may absorb a small measure of its self-worth. That some of it might "rub off" on them.

Some people will go to extreme lengths to somehow leverage their "15 minutes of Fame" -- even to the point of using their own children as props in a dangerous fast-forward-it scheme. And our modern day Media Facilitators are only too eager to "get their video scoop" -- when the story has just the "right elements."

Balloon boy hoax

by Wikipedia

The balloon boy hoax occurred on October 15, 2009 in Fort Collins, Colorado, when Richard and Mayumi Heene allowed a gas balloon filled with helium to float away into the atmosphere, and then claimed that their six-year-old son Falcon was inside it. At the time, it was reported by the mass media that the boy was apparently traveling at altitudes reaching 7,000 feet (2,100 m)[1] in a homemade balloon colored and shaped to resemble a silver flying saucer-type of UFO.[2][3][4] The event attracted worldwide attention.[1][5] Falcon was nicknamed "Balloon Boy" by some in the media.[6]

After more than an hour-long flight that covered more than 50 miles (80 km) across three counties,[7] the balloon landed about 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Denver International Airport. Authorities closed down the Denver airport and sent several National Guard helicopters and local police in pursuit. After the balloon landed and the boy was found not to be inside, authorities began a manhunt of the entire area, raising fears that he had fallen from the balloon; it was reported that an object had detached from the balloon and fallen to the ground.[3] Later that afternoon the boy was reported to have been hiding in his home's attic the entire time.[8]


Editor & Publisher noted that "only after the crash did TV hosts stress that reports of [a] boy in it were 'unverified' and raise the possibility of a hoax."[73]

This Media quest for being "first to air" with the latest scoop of Today's sensational Live Television, has resulted in some interesting, if not disturbing social trends:

Reality TV World

Recent "Car Chase" Stories, Video, and Galleries

Arguably the initial cultural incident that sparked this mass migration of Traditional News Reporting, into the formulaic world of 'wall-to-wall' coverage of "story-telling television," first caught fire here (with this very unusual intersection of the worlds of Celebrity, Tragedy, and Police Crime blotters):

June 17, 1994: O.J. Simpson Car Chase (Video)

LAPD pursue O.J. Simpson's white Bronco for 5 hours before he returns home.
How many days was this turned into a manufactured story? And what was the newsworthy content, that required constant Live Television footage, on all the major networks. And what did we learn, when the slow-motion car-chasing story-telling was finally over?

This was the beginning of the end of Journalism, in my opinion -- and the beginning of the Media assuming the gaudy mantle of great facilitator to those in search of their own "15 minutes" of Fame ... of some small measure of celebrity. This was the birth of gossip-driven news. It led to the creation of Court TV (Oh joy!). And all the excruciating slow-motion court-tragedy-dramas to follow.

Lately, they -- the Media Story-tellers -- have extended their facilitating efforts towards the even more compelling coverage of those desperate quests for timeless notoriety -- almost always by society's most-troubled minds.

Apparently pain, crossed with tragedy, is somehow "interesting" ... to the greater world at large (the world of spectators, like us).

Sometimes the wall-to-wall fame-facilitating by the Media, is presented under the guise of a "noble News-Tribute" -- even to the exclusion of all other news of the day.

This practice could be categorized as "Saturation Sensationalism." It's becoming increasingly more common filler -- between commercials. "Just Vamp" is the common refrain, to make those 24-7 book-ends meet.

BBC gets over 700 complaints about 'wall-to-wall' coverage

by Urmee Khan, Digital and Media Correspondent, -- 01 Jul 2009

Viewers have inundated the corporation with letters and emails criticising the "sensational" and "extensive" reports about the singer across all BBC news programmes.

The story has dominating bulletins since last Thursday night and news specials were also aired on BBC One and BBC Two on Friday night.

One viewer, listed as Dotconnect on the corporation's website, accused the BBC of going "overboard" and said there was "little if any mention of other stories for far too long.

She said [head of the BBC newsroom]: "We've had a number of complaints about our coverage, the main charge being that we simply did too much: that his death [Michael Jackson] didn't justify the prominence and scale of our reporting through Friday and into the weekend.

There is an advertizing rationale behind such News Gossip-Fame-reliant content strategies. It's just they used to know when to say "when" -- and when to pivot to the "actual news of the day," once they had the audience's attention hooked on the all too painfully-tragic lead:

If It Bleeds, It Leads

This mantra is deeply ingrained in journalistic norms. Newsworthiness is determined by several factors, and death/destruction fulfills many of them a lot better than news about society working its wonders another day. Also, because getting information on them is easy (through the police or government agencies via press releases) and since they take place on public streets where permits or business permission are never required to film near, they are generally rather cheap to cover. They also tend to provide flashy visuals. [...]

Some have suggested that coverage like this, focusing on negative stories of war, death and destruction rather than the positive things that are happening in society, is responsible for making people cynical about the world around them. People who watch the news start to feel that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and give up on the idea that society's problems can be fixed. In addition, when the media obsess over violent crimes, deeper problems with society (such as cities running out of money) go ignored, leaving the public uninformed.

Sometimes this tendency for Media to "Empower Sensationalism" can have more dire consequences, than simply daily convey to us, our dour-sour world-views. Sometimes such blood-and-gut tendencies of the new-century "Story-tellers" can convince those with a unstable psychological impulses to personally achieve fame and/or notoriety -- convince them that such otherwise unreachable goals, can actually be met.

That anything's possible with a strong run-with-it assist from a Fifteen-Facilitating Media directors enablers, that is.

Media Critics Say Sensational News Coverage Encourages Future School Shootings

by Jeff Stone, -- Dec 16 2012

Dr. Par Dietz, a forensic expert cited in Booker’s report, stressed the need to consider the implications of excessive media coverage. Ratings and advertising dollars are dictating news judgment, he warned.

“We’ve had 20 years of mass murders, throughout which I’ve repeatedly told CNN and our other media, ‘If you don’t want to propagate mass murders don’t start the story of sirens blaring. Don’t have photographs of the killer. Don’t make this 24/7 coverage. Do everything you can not to make the body count the lead story and not to make the killer some kind of anti-hero.

“The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory,” [Roger] Ebert wrote almost 10 years ago. “‘Events like this,’" I said, "if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids [Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold] were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia.

“‘The message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. The kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn't have messed with me. I'll go out in a blaze of glory.’"

Now I'm not saying the Media Sensationalizers are responsible for the "next" massive crime spree. Nor that such horrific events are not newsworthy, in some traditional journalistic sense. But just that the way they cover such gun-violence events now, they sure do make damn sure that the names and images of these future perpetrators will "live on in infamy" ... ie. just what those troubled-minds "commonly" crave (in order to achieve their small measure of very warped self-worth -- in a final act of defiance).

Christopher Dorner Suspected Dead

link to video

As if right on queue, our Car Chase Media was primed and ready to give this fugitive of the Law, his "15 Minutes" of infamous notoriety  (for about the 4th time now). So much so, that this latest wall-to-wall infamy-coverage actually pre-empted the traditional political analysis that normally precedes the State of the Union address.

I guess, somethings are more important than the SOTU -- somethings like "burning cabins, swat teams, and those pricey cameras in even pricier helicopters." Who gives a damn, that none of the Reporters know what real facts are that surround this "Breaking News" event -- and that they won't know for days -- it sure does make for not enthralling TV pictures, doesn't it?

Or so these Facilitators of those 15-Minutes will keep trying to sell us. Until someone decides that maybe they should quit yelling "Fire" in our new "social norms" theaters.  Otherwise known as the Agenda-setting Studios of America.

Until then, they will tell us when something is important or not, right after those messages run, from their very demanding sponsors.

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