Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No One Covers the Travails of the Wealthy Like The NYT, Part Trois -- Byt the Wall St. Journal is Trying

The New York Times continues what seems to be a series of articles about the plight of the super-rich. (Check out Part Duex, Part Une, and the one that started the series, "Shrinking Expectations of the Super Rich.)

In the latest installment, Challenges of $600-a-Session Patients, the Times notes that not only do the super-rich have problems -- and those who do often see their therapists twice a week -- but the therapists themselves have issues with their clients. For the uninitiated, the therapists themselves have therapists.

The bottomline in the article is that the rich have problems, too.

I'm just not sure of the news value of that revelation -- although I felt much the same after watching a performance of Igor Stravinsky's opera, "Rake's Progress." I sat through the opera for hours, only to hear characters on stage announce the moral of the opera as being "For idle hearts and hands and minds the Devil finds a work to do." (I saw "Rake's Progress" in college, but I'm still annoyed that I could've saved four hours if only they had announced the moral at the beginning.)

I'm guessing the Times is devoting so many resources to the travails of the super-rich as a marketing ploy to keep them reading the Times. The editors may feel that how the economic downturn affects the super-rich is a story seldom told, and therefore is worth telling.

I see it as a symptom of a glam-focused news environment, in which celebrity births, illnesses, arrests, rehabs and divorces get lots of attention while real news gets shut out. Already, I'd bet there's a producer out there, who having seen the Times article, is pitching "Therapists to the Stars" as a reality TV program. Perhaps by the time I post this, Bravo or E! Television will have already bought the concept. (You read it here, first.)

Meanwhile, the Wall St. Journal seems to have picked up the Times' gauntlet in terms of who can write more about the problems facing the super-rich.

Submitted for your perusal (as a Rod Serling CD is entitled):

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