Feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of media attention the networks have given to Michael Jackson? You're not alone, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll, and that fact puzzles MSNBC contributor Touré.
Touré and David Wilson of TheGrid.com appeared on the July 2 broadcast of Nancy Snyderman's MSNBC's show "Dr. Nancy" to examine the premise that Michael Jackson's death was getting too much attention. Snyderman cited statics from the Pew Research Center for People & Press July 1 poll about the Jackson coverage.
"And of course, the Jackson coverage raises a question," Snyderman said. "Has the media been spending too much time covering the Michael Jackson story? Certainly, it's something you can't get away from right now. A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that 64 percent of people surveyed think that the coverage of the Jackson story is excessive. Three percent think, too little, 29 percent just about right."
The poll broke down the statistics by race and other prominent news stories, but Snyderman focused on the racial aspects of the poll.
"But let's take a look at the coverage and how it's seen through different eyes," Snyderman continued. "African-Americans versus white Americans - 70 percent of whites thought there has been too much coverage compared with just 38 percent of African-Americans. And another way of breaking down these numbers, more than half of African-Americans said the coverage has been just right compared with only one in four whites, 25 percent."
The breakdown was unfathomable to Touré - who failed to understand why "white Americans" or anyone might be experience fatigue from the coverage of Jackson's death.
"Michael Jackson was the biggest star, not black star - the biggest star, period - of his period," Touré said. "He's still in a moment of his fame. So, we're already talking about him, he's about to do a big concert. So he's still in the moment of his fame. And so, sudden death - the chair is pulled out from under us. So we're in shock. So we need to talk about it. I don't understand why all these white Americans are saying, ‘It's too much.' This is a major American story. It's not that the media shoving it down our throat, people want to hear about it."
Wilson noted how abrupt Jackson's departure was and said that may have played a role in the onslaught of news coverage.
"And he's been around for 45 years in American homes - for 45 years. So he's an American icon," Wilson said. "You know and he's a treasure. So I think that the fact that, like you said, we lost him so suddenly pretty much shocked everybody.
However, Snyderman cited a June 26 Vanity Fair article by Maureen Orth that chronicled the Jackson's trouble, troubles that were lost in the round-the-clock news coverage, according to Orth.
"Maureen Orth, who contributes to Vanity Fair and NBC, was pretty damning in what she said, you know, early on," Snyderman said. "This man was a pedophile, this man had drug abuse, we are, forgive the pun - whitewashing all of this."
Wilson countered that Jackson had never been found guilty of pedophilia, despite settling out of court in 1993 in a civil case for $22 million when those accusations were made. Touré told Snyderman those issues should be neglected for months, if not years, in the media blitz.
"Repeatedly exonerated, that is correct," Touré said. "I think Maureen Orth in particular has been completely inappropriate at this time. He just died. Let us grieve as a nation. Let his body get into the ground. Let his spirit rest. Let's take a moment, even a couple of months, if not a couple of years, before we come back to say, ‘OK, there are other parts of this story.'"