Grrr! Exploitative Coverage

Quick question: How many of you know someone who has died of lung cancer? How many of you have lung cancer?

Are you or your loved ones on the cover of every newspaper in the country? Are you the subject of countless entertainment stories about your fight against cancer, win or lose?

Please don't misinterpret what I'm Grrring here.

Peter Jennings (search) was one of my career idols. He was a legendary journalist and an extraordinary anchorman. Jennings lost his fight with lung cancer and died on Sunday night.

Dana Reeve (search), the widow of Christopher Reeve, announced this week that she has lung cancer. Reeve did not elaborate on her condition, stating only that she and her physicians are optimistic about her prognosis.

Reeve showed amazing strength and compassion after her husband was paralyzed as a result of a horse accident. I have never met her, but I know from what I've seen, read and heard that she is an amazing woman. Her announcement is tragic. Tragic for her, and tragic for her son.

But ... and I know I'm treading on thin ice here ... does there need to be such extensive coverage? Should Reeve's fight be chronicled for all to see?

Every newspaper, every news channel, every news broadcast and every entertainment show has covered, ad nauseam, what little it knows about Reeve's condition.

I know that neither Jennings nor Reeve asked for all of this coverage. My Grrr! is aimed at the exploitative modus operandi and the voyeuristic slant the media takes on stories such as these.

Cancer has long been a mysterious disease and a cure has been the subject of billions of dollars of research and development. It's not like this is something new.

Tragic? Absolutely. But front-page, wall-to-wall news? I don't think so. Let Jennings rest in peace, and let Reeve fight her battle in private.

Terror Documentary

Did anybody see the news that Al Qaeda released a terror documentary?

I have a question. Do you think there's an AK-47 prop house somewhere in the hills of Afghanistan? It seems like every one of these terror tapes features some hooded moron with an AK-47 strapped around his chest.

Where do I get me one of those? 'Cause I'd like to have one strapped on when the terrorists come a-calling.

Maybe I should look in the Hollywood Yellow Pages for the Terrorists 'R' Us prop house.

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, and covers entertainment and features on the Sunday program "FOX Magazine." He also writes the weekly Grrr! Column and hosts "The Real Deal" video segments on