The Charlie Sheen media machine just keeps running -- and it says a whole lot more about the media than it does Charlie Sheen.
When a rambling Hollywood drug addict can dominate national and, at times, local news for a week, you know something's wrong. It's like propping up a drunk at a party to see what outrageous thing he'll say next. The ones holding up Sheen now are the producers at CNN, NBC, CBS, and it seems every other media outlet in the United States.
Sheen orchestrated this media campaign, prompting his apparently sane publicist to leave him, so you're not even sure who is using whom the most. But it's demeaning to everyone involved. We've already watched Sheen lose his children -- what next, live coverage of his institutionalization? Many psychologists have opined that he's in a manic phase of bipolar disorder. True or not, you sense there aren't going to be too many real winners here in the end. He talks about tigers, but the hangover's going to be a bear.
This is a guy who is totally alienated from his family and real friends, has just destroyed a major television show, and has done so many drugs that he's lost his
teeth. So let's see what he'll say next!
It's not just the national media -- or the always abject Inside Editions of the world -- that have gone gaga over the guy. So has the Sun-Sentinel. Right now, the newspaper's website is veritably soaked in Sheen.
On it's "Hot Topics" running across the top of the website is a link to a viral Sheenpoof video. Also on the page is a headline: "What is Charlie Sheen? A Warlock? A Jet? Part Tiger?"
They've even managed to get some Sheen in their local copy. They even manage to sully a serious and sad story about the body of the mother of the slain Delray Beach siblings having been found in a landfill. In the middle of the online edition of the story, breaking up the copy, is a shameless plug for one of the more problematic Sheen stories.
"Watch this now! Charlie Sheen speaks after kids taken away."
Herald succumbs, too
But it was the Miami Herald that really got embarrassed by the Sentinel's cheap sensationalism. You know how the Herald and the Sentinel (and the Palm Beach Post) engage in the dubious practice of sharing their stories with one another? Well, the Heraldpicked up the Sentinel story on the Delray Beach murders and gave it prominent posting on its homepage.
The problem was that the Charlie Sheen stuff was plugged into the copy, so people reading the sad account of the murder of a mother and her children suddenly were hit with this juxtaposition:
The dead woman is thought to be Felicia Brown, 25, the mother of Jermaine, who was identified through dental records, Guerriero said at a 6 p.m. news conference held on Friday at Delray Beach Police headquarters.
Watch this now! Charlie Sheen speaks out after kids taken away.
She said Ju'Tyra is thought to be Jermaine's sister because of their resemblance and the...
This jarring mistake caught the eye of readers. The first comment on the story makes mention of it. "What does Charlie Sheen have to do with this case?" the reader asks.
A Herald staffer responds in the next comment.
"This article comes from the Sun Sentinel, who we have a partnership with that allows us to share content," he explains. "The promo you're referring to is an automatic function on their site, and when copying the story, I neglected to delete it. The problem has now been fixed."
That didn't stop more complaining from readers, one of whom said the Herald was becoming the worst newspaper he's ever read.
One thing about the Charlie Sheen media train: You ride at your own risk.