Today was Michael Brown’s funeral. #MikeBrownFuneral was a top trend on Twitter. Multiple media outlets live streamed the service. Al Sharpton eulogized. At least three Obama administration officials attended. The Nation of Islam covered crowd control. Countless celebrities and entertainers were in attendance, and t-shirts were sold.
One thing is clear: Trumped by the politics of self-interest and ratings-boosting media narratives, Michael Brown’s death stopped being about Michael Brown almost immediately after he was pronounced dead.
“It’s important that this turns into something other than just a media spectacle,” CNN news anchor Don Lemon said. “This should be for family and people who knew Michael Brown.
Lemon has been covering Brown’s story from Ferguson, Missouri nearly nonstop for weeks.
Railing against the celebrities and politicians who attended Brown’s funeral, Lemon said, “Those people didn’t know him. They come for a day or a week, they get in the camera spotlight. They take part in the moment. Then when the cameras go away, they’re gone, as well.”
Those are all good points, Don. But your very own network, CNN, has benefitted greatly from this entire ordeal.
Covering media ratings for mediabestro.com, Merril Knox writes, “Fueled by continuing coverage of unrest in Ferguson, CNN won the A25-54 demographic in both total day and primetime Tuesday for the fourth straight day.”
And if you look back far enough, (here’s a link) you’ll find that CNN wasn’t winning any ratings battles before the news of Michael Brown’s death broke.
And in a sad twist of ironic fate, it would seem that the temporary ratings boast it received by stoking the flames of racial unrest in Ferguson won’t save CNN from being forced to slash hundreds of jobs in a network-wide downsizing effort.
Oh, you want more irony?
Don Lemon tweeted about taking a “break from twitter today in respect for parents & lives lost. Not choosing sides.” He tweeted that with a picture of him hugging Michael Brown’s mother.
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