Here’s to Jackson’s tongue in your mouth

I yelled at the TV set Thursday. “Why are you staked out at the Neverland Ranch when U.S. citizens are being beaten and arrested in Miami? Why the endless comments from fans—‘His music molded me as a child!’—when Bush’s disastrous energy bill is facing a Senate vote?”

I turned the CNN off. I picked up the newspaper. Jackson’s horror-movie mug gaped from under a large, bold headline.

My significant Republican was in his car listening to KKOH’s Jacko coverage. Talk show hosts read a letter that included a fun depiction of getting to know Michael on a deeper level. “And then he kissed me, and then he stuck his tongue in my mouth …” My SR turned the radio off. The darn Democrats were trying to stall Medicare reform. And American soldiers were still dying for our country over in Iraq. Will the liberal media stop at nothing to garner ratings?!

Hey, media just give the public what the public wants. Right?

I’m not so sure. Perhaps we’re all merely conditioned from the years of Celebriphilia Media. Like Pavlov’s pooch, we slaver and draw near the Almighty Tube when a Star is arrested, gets fat, undergoes plastic surgery, gives birth, dangles a baby, takes a lover, goes to drug rehab, dumps a spouse, picks a nose or molests a 12-year-old.

On Thursday, while cameras from every TV news outfit in the nation were trying to catch every gut-wrenching second of the Jackson frenzy, Miami cops decided to shoot rubber bullets and tear gas at peaceful protesters in Miami.

Steelworkers, environmentalists, students and fair-trade advocates were exercising a constitutional right to peaceably assemble in protest of last week’s Free Trade Area of the Americas talks.

The activists are concerned that current trade agreements (such as NAFTA) place the profits of multinational corporations over the safety and wage-earning ability of a country’s populace. Activists took time off work to travel to Miami. For their trouble, about 250 protesters were arrested. Dozens more were injured by the best-equipped police force ever to attack peacefully assembled U.S. citizens.

The Miami cops used weapons funded by a gift of $8.5 million approved by the U.S. Congress as part of the $87 billion for Iraq. Hence enforcers of law had plenty of spanking new batons, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and electric shields.

Easily to see why this little fracas was barely worthy of a couple of CNN’s daily 1,440 minutes. The story paled in comparison to the arrest of the Pale Gloved One.

Oh well. There’s always CSPAN. On Friday, you couldn’t tear me away from the U.S. Senate’s action-packed hearings on the Bush-backed energy bill. My favorite moment was the stellar tirade of Sen. John McCain (a better man than the Republicans deserve). McCain called the energy bill “a huge wasted opportunity” with last-minute industry gifts that were “the epitome of corporate welfare.”

But just because the Senate had the common sense to nix the worst energy bill the nation’s ever seen didn’t change the media’s star-charted course.

On Sunday, CNN’s Web page featured “Jackson fans hold vigils.” At, it was “Jackson surrenders: The world watches as the King of Pop surrenders for arrest in Santa Barbara.” On Fox News, “Police seized 12 explicit love letters from Jacko to young boy” was barely eclipsed by the story that another three American soldiers died in Iraq.

By Monday, I thought it was over. A Newsweek reporter was talking on CNN about the use of the USA Patriot Act in the Vegas bust of nightclub owner Michael Galardi.

But then it was time for the 90-Second Pop Panel to answer the earth-shattering question: “Does this spell the end of Michael Jackson’s career?”