Charlie Sheen's collapse

March 8, 2011 1:42:56 PM PST
When you report local news on television - the feedback from viewers is often immediate and passionate.

The expanding use of our website - 7Online.Com - has helped bring our viewers even closer to the people who report and present their news.

When we do something people like, we hear about it. And when we do something people don't like, we really hear about it.

It's a fascinating glimpse into the perspectives and politics of those who watch our newscasts. Our coverage of the monumental personal and professional collapse of the troubled actor Charlie Sheen is a case in point.

Sheen's story is sad and pathetic, but it's not compassion that most people feel towards him. It's a thanks-gawd it's over mentality. Or, let's hope it's over.

There are some viewers who are critical that, in the biggest city in the country, the biggest TV station spends time covering the antics of Mr. Sheen.

But there are others who suggest that, while they'd rather see other news, they find themselves glued to the Sheen story developments as if they were as important as, say the economy or the democracy movements in the Middle East.

I'll leave it to the psychologists to fully explain the Sheen attraction. But there is something fascinating about a guy with so much talent and so much money, just throwing it all away in a (fill-in-the-blank) stupor laced with vitriol for his bosses, his viewers, his co-workers, just about everybody.

I find myself feeling badly not for Charlie Sheen, but for his dad, Martin.

We will have the latest on any new developments in the affair-de-Sheen, tonight at 11.

As long as we're on the passionate viewer road, I got a voice mail today from a woman who didn't like the way we - and I - laughed at the site of a bull in Venezuela deciding he didn't want to be in the ring, and jumping into the stands. No one was hurt, and the bull eventually found his way back into the ring.

The woman said that I shouldn't have laughed. It's sad enough, she said, that the animal was corralled into a no-escape situation.

But it's not a laughing matter; it's not funny. Please refrain from this kind of approach, she urged.

Words matter, and what we say on air - either in words we've written earlier or in some off-the-cuff comment - matters. They can inspire or insult, help or hurt, assuage or annoy, be funny or frightful. We do not intend to insult or hurt or annoy or be frightful.

Also at 11 tonight, there seems to be, again, a home-improvement binge. Either to make their home more livable, or to spruce things up for a sale - knowing what things will cost and what kind of return you'll get on your investment can be critical. Tonight, our Tim Fleischer takes a candid look at what does and doesn't work. Here's a hint: kitchens and bathrooms yield the best returns.

And finally a note about California, the most populous state in the nation. The 2010 census data came out today, and it continues a remarkable trend: Caucasians make up 40.1% of the population, but that's down 5.4% from 10 years ago. Hispanics or Latinos make up 37.6%, up nearly 28%.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.


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