Thursday night I was at my son’s first swim meet when I heard news about Michael Jackson being rushed to the hospital. While others searched Google news to no avail, I jumped on Twitter and found a number of third-hand reports that Jackson was dead. The only source listed was AOL-owned gossip website, TMZ. Here’s one report of how TMZ scooped CNN and, according to some reports, the coroner.
So now I’m thinking of a parody video that replicates the EMR rushing Jackson to the hospital. Grainy footage of the ambulance and paramedics screaming away paparazzi. Naturally we don’t see Jackson’s face because that’s logistically difficult, and would certainly be a HIPAA violation. One EMR gets a cell call from TMZ editor Harvey Levin, who promises $10,000 for first-hand status updates but $25,000 for news of Michael Jackson’s death. The other paramedic shrugs, and pinches the IV line, which flatlines the King of Pop. “Should we say a prayer or something?” asks the ethics-devoid EMR.
There are at least 3 things that will probably stop me from actually shooting this bit. First, it’s already late as viral satires go. Second, I’ll need to convince a friend to let me use an actual ambulance, and that has some risks if the video was to travel. Thirdly, it’s somewhat dark and tasteless… even if the satire is not at the expense of Jackson but on the ethical implications of paying sources. Levin reports that he doesn’t pay nurses or police, but he did provide quotes that suggest a paramedic might have been the source.
Can someone charged with saving a life be “under the table” incentivized to provide details of a celebrity death? That’s pretty frightening, and if I was a hospital I’d do some serious digging.
Here’s some actual footage obtained by Hollwood.com of the ambulance exterior (as precious time is wasted trying to backup the ambulance). But what happened inside? The world may never know…