Yesterday I was unfortunate enough to view the Channel Nine news. I had been watching the cricket (disappointed at Pakistan’s somewhat woeful performance) and when they cut from the transmission to the news I left the television on. I think I was talking to someone on facebook chat (shhh, don’t tell anyone) but keeping a somewhat distracted ear open to what they were, uh, ‘reporting’ from around the country. About half way through the announcer/newsreader said something along the lines of: “After the break, Charlie Sheen arrested.” This cued me and my fellow facebook chatter to riff on what he possibly could have been arrested for and if, in fact, there were any crimes we wouldn’t believe Charlie Sheen had been arrested for.
Then we came back from the break and the reporting went something like this:
It is being alleged that Brook Mueller was under the influence of alcohol or other substances when she made the call to police on Christmas to claim that her husband, Charlie Sheen, had assaulted her. Others now also claim that she may have completely fabricated the allegations that left Sheen – star of Two and a Half Men – spending part of his Christmas in jail.
I admit completely that the above is very much a snarky memory based quote but were I able to find the transcripts I don’t believe it would be much different (if anyone could help me out with a link that would be great).
What is important to Channel Nine isn’t to report that Charlie Sheen had assaulted his wife (though why they’re “reporting” on it anyway is a mystery) but that Brook Mueller is probably a drunk and was probably lying when she got her Grinch on and caused poor old, fun loving, friendly, nice guy Charlie to spend his Christmas in jail. Has she no heart? No Christmas spirit? Oh and p.s. that show we happened to mention before, it’s on right after this and we really want you to watch it. For Channel Nine, making sure that you aren’t dissuaded from watching their show is more important than accurately reporting celebrity occasions of domestic violence. Hell, to me it isn’t even about accurate reporting. It’s about not leading with statements that are intended to cast aspersions on the female partner in this situation. It’s about not making the decision to completely assassinate her character from the get go. It’s about reporting the facts that are available to you rather than prioritising protecting your brand, particularly when it’s to the detriment of yet another victim of domestic violence.
Reporting from The Herald Sun also pushes the drunken thing, bemoans Sheen “languishing in the Pitkin County Jail”, and commits a bizarre amount of space to celebrating Two and a Half Men, referring to it as a “sitcom sensation” and lauding its ratings status:
Sheen is the highest paid actor in US television and takes home $825,000 per episode on Two and a Half Men, which is also a ratings juggeraut [sic] for Channel 9.
It averages 1.2 million Australian viewers and is consistently in the top 10 most watched shows.
And, despite many episodes being repeated, it still trounces its competition, including The 7PM Project.
For those interested here’s what actually happened (via E! Online, who have actually, you know, read the police report [pdf link] filed by responding officer Rick Magnuson of the Aspen Police Department). I think it quite definitively speaks for itself about what probably happened and what kind of loveable, friendly, aw-shucks, Two and a Half Men kind of guy Charlie Sheen really is. (Edit – Carlos Estevez is Sheen’s real name and the name he is referred to as here.) Please note, it’s possibly triggering.