Like there hasn’t been enough talk about Kobe Bryant already, and now I’m going to jump in and say some words. I’m commenting more on the media attention than the alleged act or Kobe himself. It’s utterly ridiculous. MSNBC pretty much stopped all programming yesterday to spend a couple hours covering Kobe’s appearance in Eagle, CO yesterday. They continually showed a 20 second clip of Kobe walking from his Suburban to the courtroom while waiting for the session to start. 20 years from now, I’m going to remember how Kobe reached back and helped his lawyer hop out of the back seat because I saw the damn video 9,000 times.
(“So,” the astute reader might ask, “what the hell were you watching for it you are prepared to rant about it?” Well, I knew Keith Olbermann was hosting the coverage, so I figured I’d watch and see if he did it straight, or if he shared any of his thoughts. In the time I watched, he played it straight. But I got annoyed and went for a run at 5:15 so he may have done more later. Arnold’s announcement kind of interrupted his coverage on Countdown.)
Kobe is arguably the best basketball player in the world. He plays for the most recognizable team in the world. Sure, his Nike contract was only half of what LeBron got, but he’s still making about $25-30 million a year from all sources. I get all this. But does that really warrant all the attention? I’ve heard Kobe’s name more than I’ve heard WMD, tax cuts, Saddam, or Osama in the last week.
Not to belittle the alleged crime, because if he’s guilty he deserves the maximum criminal punishment, a hefty civil suit, and his wife to take at least half of his money, but is it really worth all this attention? Last time I checked, North Korea is closer to nuclear weapons than Iraq ever got (and are more willing to sell them to others), the Indonesian government may crack down on Muslims in a manner that could make Southern Asia as inhospitable as the Middle East, and events in Liberia could lead to a new round of long-term Western involvement in Africa. Yet the media is willing to send more resources to cover a court appearance by a basketball player (“100,000 journalists” according to the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart) than tackle some of the tough issues.
I don’t know where the blame lies. With the mainstream media for shoveling lowest common denominator news at us but wrapping it in the guise of being investigative, hard hitting, and informative? Or with us in the public for not demanding more and tuning in to watch Barbara Walters interview the Monica Lewinskys of the world in far greater numbers than we watch the State of the Union?