Overdose of Sheen

Two and a Half Men star, Charlie Sheen, has been making countless headlines in the news with his crazy antics, from his stints in and out of rehab to his radio rants on the Alex Jones Radio Show that resulted in his termination from Two and a Half Men after he made an anti-Semitic comment on the show’s creator. The media has been lapping up all these juicy news, continuously updating the public on the latest Charlie Sheen happenings.

It is evident that the agenda setting theory is taking place here. This theory refers to “the media’s ability, through repeated news coverage, to raise the importance of an issue in the public’s mind”. People who set the media agenda, also called gatekeepers, select the issues they feel are most worthy of coverage and give those issues wide attention. Usually, the agenda setting theory is used in the context of the news industry but it can also be applied to entertainment news such as in the case of the numerous Charlie Sheen news.

Obviously, the gatekeepers of the radio programs, television talk and tabloid shows, Web sites, magazines and newspapers that have been covering all the Sheen-related gossip think that this is what the public should, and want to know. This is kind of true. People take pleasure in feeding on another person’s problems, especially when that person is a celebrity. An article in the Huffington Post, written by Ed Martin (television critic for JackMyers.com, MediaBizBloggers, and TV Worth Watching) talks about this very issue. In it, Martin highlighted an interview that Piers Morgan had with comedian Howie Mandel on the former’s CNN talk show regarding the Sheen saga.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

When Morgan asked Mandel what he thought about “our warped news values,” in which Sheen is so dominant in news cycles, Mandel replied, “It’s a sad statement on humanity … that we all love a train wreck. I’m a parent, and I look at him and I think this must be torturous for his father and his family and the people who love and care about him and this is horrible for the children.

“You’re in television, you’re in the business,” Mandel said to Morgan. “We have to talk about it and show clips. [The fact that] we’re mesmerized by it is kind of a statement of who we are.”

A probable reason for all the coverage on Charlie Sheen’s antics is that the editor of a newspaper or television news broadcast have seen similar stories achieve high ratings. It’s an ugly truth. The public (including me, embarrassingly) love to read about a celebrity’s problems. (Lindsay Lohan, anyone?) It’s comforting to know that amid all the fame and fortune these celebrities have surrounding them, they are not immuned to the obstacles life throws at them. Believe it or not, the number of news surrounding Sheen has been so large that it has even led to the birth of a new verb. Apparently, the terms “sheened” and “sheening” refer to the act of partying.

So, if you guys have been following all the Charlie Sheen news, what are your opinions about it? Should the media continuously feed the public with all the Sheen-related issues?

The Huffington Post

10 responses to “Overdose of Sheen

  1. Sarah

    The way to increase traffic to the various media outlets is through news that are negative and fodder for gossip. The sheer number of tabloid magazines and online gossip blogs are good evidence. The media is earning more money with the constant updates on Charlie Sheen. This is easier with the fact that he is a household name in the US and he himself is using the various media outlets to voice his anger (or introduce his own unique phrases that are sometimes creepy).

    I highly doubt that the media will stop their constant coverage on him so long as viewer’s ratings are up or readership of tabloid magazines remain at a high.

    It is quite hard to decipher the antics of Charlie Sheen. Is he likely to be suffering a mental breakdown due to the repeated media interest or is he just plain irritated with the producers of the show and thus feels he has been treated unfairly? I dont think anyone but himself knows the answer.

    Personally, i dont actually think it is a mental issue. From what i have been seeing, it seems to me that he is leveraging on his dismissal from the show. He gets money from his twitter posts and he has live shows now in several cities. I just feel that he thinks too highly of himself and that he is a superstar so he is entitled to his lifestyle (which is rather gross)

  2. I agree with you that the media is constantly covering the whole Charlie Sheen issue because of the high profits involved. Obviously, everyone likes gossip, and this is definitely juicy gossip, involving Charlie Sheen no less. And if the media is going to get lots of money from it, why not?

    And like you mentioned, even Sheen himself is using the media to publicize himself, what with all the videos he has been posting online and surprise appearances on television talk shows. If he himself is taking advantage of the media, what’s to stop the media themselves from covering stories about him?

  3. The media main role is to inform the public of the latest happenings and it is not surprising to see the same news about Charlie Sheen being covered several times. Being a public figure and his story being controversial, it is only common for the news agency to cover it and ultimately bring about higher ratings or readership value.

    This news reminded me of the Mel Gibson controversy where he made anti-Semitic comments along with of those violent in nature towards his girlfriend (or wife, can’t really remember). Just like you, I too follow up with celebrity news to find out the latest meltdowns etc. Good to know my life is not that bad as compared to theirs! :)

    • Oh I remember the Mel Gibson controversy too. What’s with all the anti-Semitic comments going around?

      I think celebrity gossip like these make for juicy news but eventually, constant coverage of them will probably get old. People get bored so easily and it’s not fun to keep hearing about the same celebrity over and over again. Plus, it’s not good if it infringes into the lives of the celebrities, such as the Cox-Arquette news that I mentioned two entries back. It’s good that the media is there to keep us updated about the latest goings-on but they shouldn’t cross the line when it comes to personal issues of the celebrities.

  4. rhymeratus

    I dont think the media should be feeding Sheen with the attention that he seems to be lapping up because really, he doesn’t deserve it. This issue has been blown out of proportion. Granted, being a celebrity, he should have been more careful with his actions and words, but there have been so many anti-semitic comments all over the internet and nobody has been saying anything about them. Perhaps one solution to this is to educate people instead.

    • Well, I think he doesn’t deserve all the attention too, but what else do you expect from the media? They report on things like this because it will undoubtedly increase viewership/readership. Celebrity gossip always attracts a lot of attention, even if the news seem pointless and a waste of time to take note of.

      Plus, I think by reporting on Sheen’s anti-Semitic remark, along with some of the other celebrities who have followed Sheen’s footsteps, it shows the public how prejudice is still so prevalent today. Even celebrities are guilty of it. Maybe by reporting on these kinds of news, it will make people be more aware that we should all be more sensitive towards other religion, and gain more knowledge on this issue.

  5. TheycallmeKenneth

    Ahh yes this guy, I remember that this news site I’m following had news round up of him for a few days straight, pretty amazing considering the other news that had this sort of impact was the Japan earthquake. Anyway, just shows how a celebrity can control the media by behaving crazily. I guess, in a way, celebrities have control over the media too, and not just the other way round.

    • Interesting insight Kenneth! It is true that celebrities too can control the media. For instance, in Charlie Sheen’s case, he was practically all over the media by posting his own videos and making surprise appearances on television shows (e.g. Jimmy Kimmel Live!) The media was constantly covering news on his crazy antics but at the same time he was also sort of “helping” the media get more news on him by giving them exactly what they want.

  6. cheryl

    Seriously, instead of having the media focusing on such a person, why not have it reporting news that are more insightful to everyone? No doubt it might be a very juicy gossip that will attract many people’s attention, but how long can people remember this specific piece of news? Give it 6 months and another celebrity will take over the headlines. So, I feel that it is pointless for the media to keep on emphasising on the negatives about Charlie Sheen. After all, he is still a human who will make mistakes like everyone else, so why bother?

  7. Yes, I agree that it is pointless but the truth is, everyone loves this sort of news. That’s why the gatekeepers of newspapers, television news programs, etc. choose to report on them. They are too good to pass up. If it helps to increase viewership/readership, why not? It’s all about profits in this money-making world.

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