TV Review: Michael Jackson Memorial Coverage


Commentary from TV critics on Michael Jackson’s memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Tuesday, compiled by B&C:

“Death is said to trigger five stages of grief. In the wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson since his death, media members can add two more stages to their list: ‘tortured logic’ and ‘alibis’…As networks committed to broadcasting Tuesday’s memorial tribute live, hopes of perspective and proportionality quickly dimmed.”

-Brian Lowry, Variety

“I can’t remember the last time I saw so much media fluff, hype and hoopla. News organizations that have pulled out of Iraq arrived by the convoy to pay homage to the King of Pop.”

-Steve Lopez, The Los Angeles Times

“Given our culture’s morbid fascination with celebrity and scandal, no amount of storytelling or pleading — nor even a child’s tears for the loss of her father — will calm this feeding frenzy anytime soon.”

-Alan Sepinwall, The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.)

“Television essentially provided a global group-therapy session Tuesday, uniting viewers in grief and offering solace to those still stunned by Jackson’s sudden death. For a few short hours, viewers were able to put aside sideshow stories about potential custody battles and estate challenges to instead celebrate the life and music of someone they felt so connected to.”

-Chuck Barney, Contra Costa Times

“Michael Jackson’s memorial yesterday combined the best parts of a TV awards show and an old-fashioned revival to provide emotional clout. The paid TV droners mostly stayed out of the way, and the result was a rare and powerful global shared moment.”

-Jonathan Storm, Philadelphia Inquirer

“The general tone of the coverage was highly reverent. ABC capped its commentary off with a particularly lovely highlights reel set to the music of ‘We Are the World.’”

-Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express News

“I can’t get past the creepiness — in the maudlin media coverage, and among those still hustling his body, like his father, Joe Jackson, who used Michael’s death to promote a new record label.”

-Jon Kass, Chicago Tribune

“Tuesday’s memorial service for Michael Jackson, surrounded as it was by the expected media coverage carnival, was everything it should have been — and less… The coverage of the actual ceremony was uniform and respectful.”

-Dave Walker, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)