Late-night controversy takes away from actual news

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In light of recent global events such as the earthquake and subsequent crisis in Haiti, people should be able to depend on news and media for consistent updates and first-hand accounts of what is truly going on. However, while many popular culture-centric citizens may still be concerned with what color see-through tank top Miley Cyrus wore out to dinner with her boyfriend last night, there are those of us that would prefer to see that genre of celebrity commentary take a back seat. This week, the seemingly constant media coverage of NBC’s late-night debacle has proven to follow a similar pattern, and I am not amused.

Although I cannot fairly refer to myself as an avid late-night talk show fan, I have been forced to follow the NBC chaos through consistent broadcast updates on multiple news networks. For example, while many publications have chosen to print stories on the subject, CNN’s constant text-message updates to my iPhone are the most annoying.

The story is as follows: Last week, NBC announced that it would be canceling Jay Leno’s prime-time show and returning the comedian to his previous late-night block. This new lineup would move host Conan O’Brien and his program, “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien,” back to a 12:05 a.m. slot, appropriately and amusingly earning it a new nickname, “The Next Morning Show.” The changes, which seem to honor Leno completely at the expense of O’Brien, have caused the eruption of a bit of a skirmish.

Even more recently, TV personalities like David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel have chosen to get involved in the debacle. On Thursday night, Kimmel joined Leno on his show to discuss the NBC affair. Kimmel, on a live video cast, ripped Leno apart, openly vying for Conan with comments like, “Listen, Jay, Conan and I have children — all you have to take care of is cars.” Meanwhile, O’Brien announced that he would be choosing not to take the 12:05 a.m. time slot on NBC, and instead would be looking to possibly work with other networks.

While the back-and-forth aspect of this story certainly is entertaining, its constant coverage in the media has only revitalized my disdain for the relationship between the global newscast and the American entertainment business. This is not to suggest that in the face of a crisis people should drop everything to immerse themselves in the pain and sorrow of catastrophe, but rather that the institutions of American broadcast should get their priorities in order. While it is certainly acceptable to report on the toils of the entertainment business, I just hope that stories of true global consequence are given precedence.