The death of Whitney Houston

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

February 13, 2012 1:39:13 PM PST
It's been a fascinating exercise to read the hundreds of opinions and perspectives on our website and Facebook pages about Whitney Houston, the once-incredible singer whose life over the past decade was a slow spiral from the pinnacle of success to - well, everything bad, ending with her sad death in a filled bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday.

There are many people who positively, absolutely believe that it's positively, absolutely disrespectful and besides-the-point to talk about her abusive marriage and alcohol/drug dependency - both of which took a voice that once reached the heavens and put it in reverse.

Then there are those who take the other approach - talking publicly about how this incredibly talented woman's life was turned around with such tragic consequences.

Houston's legacy - the most music awards of any female singer ever, $170 million worth of record and video sales, and The Voice - will surely endure when we talk about talent.

But part of her legacy might also be a lesson - especially to young girls. Her marriage back-then to Bobby Brown started her descent into the abyss - a toxic mixture of physical and emotional domestic abuse, and an introduction into substance abuse that, depending on the toxicology report, may have very well killed her.

She was just 48. And if that isn't enough to turn all the tributes and discussions about her legacy into at least a sliver of what they like to call these days a "teachable moment," then that's a double tragedy.

I'm just sayin'.

Meanwhile, Houston's body will be flown back tonight to her hometown of Newark, where there will be a private funeral and a public service later this week.

Our Jim Dolan is in Los Angeles for us, with the latest on the investigation into Houston's death. The L.A. County Coroner has finished the autopsy, but not the toxicology tests, and so we don't know the answer to the biggest question in this case: What killed Whitney Houston. We'll have the latest, at 11.

And one more note about the Houston case. Her ex-husband - the man who abused her and sank her into the world of drugs and booze - has come under criticism for performing the night she died, rather than rushing to L.A. to be with the couple's 18-year-old daughter.

People react to death in different ways - and that reaction is quite personal. For whatever reason - he didn't go that first night, but he did last night, after the reports that his daughter was taken twice to the hospital to deal with anxiety.

The truth about Bobby Brown is that few will publicly express any expectations from him. But the other truth is that he's now trying to help his daughter deal with this tragedy.

Also at 11, we'll have the latest from India and Georgia, where near-simultaneous terrorist attacks were pulled off. The explosions - from motorcycle-bombs - targeted Israeli diplomats in New Delhi and Tbilisi. No one was killed, but four people were hurt, and the tensions between Iran and Israel seemed to ratchet up, again.

The modus operandi of the attacks was similar - nearly identical - to the motorcycle bombs that went off in Iran last month that killed an Iranian nuclear scientist. Iran believed that Israel was behind that attack, and so the conventional wisdom is that this is Iran's way of retaliation.

Just what the world needs.

Our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer tonight takes a look at Mayor Bloomberg's vision to add 130,000 new affordable housing units in New York. It's an ambitious goal - a faster rate than any other city. But Jim's three-month investigation has found some cracks in the City's push to create this new housing. And by cracks, we mean cracks literally. It's not pretty.

Jim's eye-opening story airs tonight at 11.

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


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