Confusing important and significant

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

6 July 2009

McNamara’s death overshadowed by Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Steve McNair

The news has been just full of death notices for the last two weeks. One would believe from all the Michael Jackson coverage that deaths are the biggest news in today’s “entertainment as news” world. Considering today’s news, we should be in for a lot more.

On my web browser today, two new death stories really caught my eye. The first was an article that spoke of the murder of NFL player Steve McNair. The second was the passing of Robert McNamara.

Robert MacNamara

What was interesting was that the McNair story was in the coveted top spot and McNamara was way far down the list after:

  1. Murder unveils different sides to Steve McNair
  2. Cities where salaries continue to fall
  3. Tensions mount ahead of Jackson memorial
  4. Biggest turnoffs that can hurt a first date

All of these, including the death of Jackson and McNair are interesting, but none of them are of historic significance.  The only death of real importance was McNamara’s.

His life and influence touched all of us.

If you are part of the Greatest Generation, he was the spark behind the firebombing of Japan at the end of the war. If you grew up in the 60’s, he was the owner of McNamara’s (Vietnam) War and, if you lived in the 80’s and 90’s, his influence at the World Bank and Ford Motor Company affected your lives too. He served as Secretary of Defense under both JFK and LBJ.

The problem is that McNamara was not an entertainer. He was a man of history and importance. His passing will be noted but I hardly believe CNN will devote two weeks worth of programming to his accomplishments and failures. Poor Bob, he had the misfortunes of dying when something really important was happening like Michael Jackson’s memorial service or Steve McNair’s murder.

I wonder if “The Fog of War” will rise to the tops of the charts like Thriller just did?

See more posts in the following related categories: Cultural Branding


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