Justin Bieber's breaking arrest has all of the Beliebers running to Twitter to pledge their undying love and support for the pop singer who was just handcuffed for a DUI. Clearly, their priorities are in check. While the news of the crime came as less than an ounce of a surprise to us, considering his most recent past offenses include egging his neighbor's house and harboring drugs on his coffee table, to others, it came as a complete shock. While we recognize the merits of covering the story, we also fear that the media has lost sight of what is truly important, especially since MSNBC stopped a live interview with a congresswoman to report on the Biebs' crime.
MSNBC's host, Andrea Mitchell, was interviewing Congresswoman Jane Herman live on the air about a government task force's recommendation for the NSA to stop collecting phone records. Suddenly, Mitchell stopped Herman to break the news that Bieber was stopped in his yellow Lamborghini for driving under the influence.
"Congresswoman Harman, let me interrupt you just for a moment we've got some breaking news out of Miami, stand by if you will," Mitchell said. "Right now in Miami Justin Bieber has been arrested on a number of charges."
Was it really necessary to stop an interview discussing personal privacy in America to report on a pop punk with a drinking problem? I would venture to say no. While it would be appropriate for entertainment news outlets like E! News and Access Hollywood to drop what they're doing to break the news of Bieber's arrest, what kind of message does MSNBC send to audiences when they would rather talk about Bieber than politics?
Not only does it send the wrong kind of message, but news decisions like MSNBC's also set a precedent for what kind of news should be valued in how they treat the content. For example, if MSNBC had simply published a blog post reporting the breaking news, those who were interested could seek it out if they so chose, while more pressing matters could continue to be discussed on air. Instead, everything was put on hold to talk about Bieber's DUI, which only elevated its level of importance in the public eye.
This is not the first time we've seen a pop star take precedence over more significant news. After Miley Cyrus' controversial VMA performance hit the airwaves in late August, news outlets from all over plastered the singer's face at the top of their websites and broadcasts, like CNN, whose placement of its Cyrus content as the site's leading story received both backlash and even a viral satire from The Onion.
When there's news that truly impacts lives, it seems more reasonable for breaking celebrity news to take a back seat — or at least, not interrupt a live interview.