Throw Another Christian to the Lions

by Norman Horowitz

Apparently, a mere 2000 years ago, Roman Emperors came up with an early reality show to entertain and distract  “the masses.”

They built the Colosseum, a 50,000-seat amphitheatre where they staged bloody gladiatorial contests and other “entertainments” that pitted men against one another and/or wild animals.

The most popular of the shows’ entertainment segments was throwing Christians to the lions. This concept was a winning idea, as it gave the masses something that they wanted. It has been reported that they didn’t think too hard about the shortcomings of their rulers or of the political system with this distraction, although I find this difficult to believe.

Many say that 2000-odd years later these contests are replicated, in a manner of speaking, by television.  Americans are diverted and entertained each Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by all sorts of entertainment and sports carried on television.  

I’ve always loved the description of television as “chewing gum for the mind.”

Television in our times is designed to attract an audience as large as possible to sell to advertisers. Now how complicated is that premise? Included in that category is the “selling and commercialization of broadcast news.”

Admittedly, I have a long-standing animus to TV journalists as to their “piousness” concerning what they report on air.

Our nation is still bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, but if you regularly watched our network news programs, you would hardly know it. As the Republicans love to call health care in America “Obamacare,” I continue to refer to these ongoing societal atrocities as “Bush’s Wars.”

Instead, America’s media is preoccupied with “banal issues” to attract an audience.

Charlie Sheen is an American film and television actor. He was the highest paid actor on television, earning $1.8 million per episode of Two and a Half Men. I do not diminish him when I say that he is just an actor.

Sheen’s personal life has recently made headlines, including reports about alcohol and drug abuse and marital problems as well as allegations of domestic violence. He was fired from his role on Two and a Half Men by CBS and Warner Brothers.

I have a major problem with the purported news outlets on television who willfully gave extensive coverage to an apparently deranged actor for either “fun or profit.”

To report on the behavior of a “prominent” television actor would be one thing, but “egging him on” in his erratic behavior and televising the outcome is quite another.

Another “Christian” — and apparently a sick one — has been “thrown to the lions” to get ratings. It’s a sad commentary on our media.

Picture a suicidal man on the roof of a ten-story building, surrounded by transfixed crowds shouting, “Jump!”

What the broadcasters and cablecasters do today carries the same Constitutional protection as it always has, yet the “guardians” of our “airwaves” glory in what they present as “news,” yet for the most part they are presenting “extensive commentaries, or just plain programming” dressed up, and sold, as “news.”

Will someone please tell me why interviewing or reporting at length about Charlie Sheen is news?

ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN kept asking Sheen to metaphorically jump. They even smiled as they egged him on. These pillars of journalistic integrity must be very proud.

Shame on them!