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Friday, August 25, 2006

Ratings Whore

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Man Boys & Beauty Queens

Little Girls are forced to prance
In make-up, lipstick, sexy dance
Early values, no escape
Violence, murder, strangulation, rape

Man boys watching all around
Silent witnesses, not a sound
From the hidden sidelines waiting
Executive officers, masturbating

In murderous stillness, dangerous creep
Cacophonous frenzy, ratings sweep
Fanciful confessions, evidence lacking
Breathless Specials, Baby Bashing

Beauty Queen label to sell the story
Pontificating heads to pillage the glory
Ten years later little has changed
Sicker, Sorrier, more Deranged

JonBenet Ramsey - The Sequel
August 17, 2006

The Gruesome Marketing of JonBenet
February 1, 1997

Carnage in Colorado
The Internet Didn't Do It!

By CLINTON FEIN April 29, 1999

Death Becomes Her
America's Dysfunctional Relationship with Death

December 1, 1998

RELATED ANNOY.COM FEATURE Exhibition: JonBenet Ramsey


Nothing, however, matched the endless, breathless, round-the-clock exploitation of the news media, churning out books and spawning careers in the punditry of misery. As Jane Pauley inadvertently summed it up in an interview with Lawrence Schiller, author of a book on the JonBenet Ramsey case, on NBC's Dateline, “It’s like you had a hundred different facts in a party game.” And, from Dan Abrams to Larry King and back, play they did.

Mrs. Ramsey died in June 2006 of ovarian cancer, never quite vindicated in the eyes of the public. With the arrest of John Mark Karr in Bangkok for the murder of JonBenet, America can prepare for the next onslaught to distract from the civil war in Iraq and tenuous ceasefire in Lebanon.

John Ramsey is unlikely to forget who his friends are, and hopefully will keep the media at bay, as they prepare to dig up, piss on and shred JonBenet’s memory once again. And hopefully he won’t succumb to the too-little-too-late, inevitable, post-mortem re-varnishing of Patsy Ramsey’s memory either.

Alas, for the Ramsey family, resting in peace does not seem like an option.

Clinton Fein, JonBenet Ramsey - The Sequel,, August 17, 2006

John Mark Karr bragged to his landlord's family that "sexually, I am like a wolf" and said he preferred girls to women when he worked in Costa Rica as an English teacher, his former housemates said.

The claims emerged as schoolteacher Karr arrived in Colorado, where he is suspected of the 1996 murder of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.

Landlord recalls suspect's sex boasts, The Sydney Morning Herald, August 25, 2006

With intense media interest focused on the JonBenet Ramsey murder since Dec. 26, 1996, legal experts agree the media certainly has had an impact on the case and will most likely continue to do so.

The volume of coverage has exploded again with the arrest last Wednesday of a suspect in the case. John Mark Karr was deported from Thailand and arrived in Boulder Thursday after a brief stay in Los Angeles.

The question is, does everything become different with this much media attention?

Alan Gionet, Media 'Absolutely' Affecting JonBenet Case, CBS 4 Denver, August 25, 2006

A university professor at the center of the media firestorm about the JonBenet Ramsey case said the media is missing the true significance of the story.

JonBenet’s story should be a warning about the modern tendency to sexualize children, professor Michael Tracey told the National Catholic Register.

Tracey’s e-mail correspondence with John Karr led to Karr’s extradition in connection with the 1996 murder of the 6-year-old beauty pageant star. Tracey, a Catholic who is a former altar server, exchanged hundreds of e-mails with the suspect. Tracey tipped police when his e-mail correspondence with Karr raised red flags.

Tracey said he believes JonBenet’s coquettish pageant performances and costumes probably got her killed by attracting a pedophile. The culture’s continued fascination with JonBenet raises troubling questions, he said.

“Was JonBenet a pedophile’s dream? Clearly, clearly she was,” Tracey said. “Her death, and the whole circus surrounding it even 10 years later, has everything to do with the culture’s desire to sexualize children

Wayne Laugesen, JonBenet exploitation – Prof whose e-mails led to arrest sees wider issue, National Catholic Register, August 25, 2006

MSNBC’s Dan Abrams was first to report the news about the arrest Wednesday afternoon.

Dan Abrams, NBC legal analyst: I’ve never seen anything like this. There’s something beyond weird about listening to this guy. The way he spoke about JonBenet. She was 6. He’s saying, “I loved her” and he talking about how beautiful she was. This is really crazy talk.

Hoda Kotb, Who killed JonBenet?, Dateline NBC, August 19, 2006

Also amusing is how when the cable newsers go into full-sleaze mode, they still try to maintain the outward appearance of being "newspeople." "This is a story you heard first on MSNBC," said MSNBC's Dan Abrams. When NBC News president Steve Capus announced that Dan Abrams would become the new head of MSNBC, he was asked if, under Abrams, MSNBC would become a crime channel. "That's not part of the plan," he replied. But that was before JonBenet's killer was found -- or possibly not found.

Another story last week that did not involve a "Six-Year-Old Beauty Queen" was the news that in July the death toll in Iraq was the deadliest since the start of the war -- over 3400 people, or about 110 a day. I don't know if any of these 3400, or of the tens of thousands who have been killed since the beginning of the war, were prepubescent beauty queens, but with numbers like that, it wouldn't be out of the question. Maybe MSNBC can be "first" on that one, too.

Arianna Huffington, It's News, Right?, Huffington, August 20, 2006

News late Wednesday that a man had been arrested in Thailand for alleged involvement in JonBenet Ramsey’s murder prompted MSNBC to drop coverage of terrorism stories to run wall-to-wall coverage about the 10-year-old murder mystery.

While rivals CNN and Fox News Channel only ran brief updates on the case, much of MSNBC’s coverage consisted of the network patting itself on the back for breaking the story.

“This is a story you heard first on MSNBC,” new general manager Dan Abrams boasted at 5:20 p.m. (EST) Wednesday, as a graphic ran on the bottom of the screen that read, “First on MSNBC.”

Abrams also told viewers that the network “heard through the grapevine” that the suspect arrested in Thailand was a 41-year-old schoolteacher, adding, “We have his name here, but I’m going to hold off” on disclosing the suspect.

Steve Donahue, MSNBC Hypes JonBenet Coverage, Multichannel News, August 16, 2006


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