The 16th most powerful person in the world

Posted on October 11, 2009

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There were a few surprises in a recent New Statesman article on the 50 people who matter most in the world, but the fact that the Murdochs were only beaten into second place by the Obamas was not one of them. What caught my eye was the person who slipped in at number 16: Harvey Levin.

For those of you that don’t know, Levin runs tmz.com, a celebrity gossip website. He pedals the kind of celebrity rubbish that makes me feel quite sick, but he is very, very good at it and reaches a wide audience. As distasteful as you may find what Levin does for a living- and trust me, I find it very distasteful- you have to give him credit for what he has achieved. The story of Michael Jackson’s death was broken by TMZ and the site was also able to obtain pictures of Britney Spears’ mental degeneration.

I don’t like the fact that the New Statesman refers to the ‘increasing redundancy of slow print media’, as I feel ‘redundancy’ is far too strong a word to use with regard to the decline of newspapers. Levin has found a niche, as there will always be people who are entertained by celebrity scandals and enough celebrities doing scandalous things to satisfy them. Levin and his army of moles make my skin crawl, and demonstrate a way in which the increasing prominence of internet news is not necessarily a good thing. It isn’t good for the newspaper industry, who cannot compete with the up to the minute service that Levin and his ilk provide. It isn’t good for the celebrities in question, who are under much greater scrutiny than they would have been merely a few years ago. Some of them don’t deserve it. And it certainly isn’t good taste.

Harvey Levin does what he does very well, and good luck to him. But he does not deserve his place amongst the great and powerful figures on the NS list. He tells people things that don’t matter about people that mostly don’t matter a lot quicker than anyone else. This is not a reason why he himself should be deemed to ‘matter’.

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Posted in: Media