The results of a new study conducted by Sony and Neilson reveal something so concerning regarding our collective memories that I felt the need to resurrect the “news” category of my blog just to have a soapbox. Let’s begin with the actual list of the 20 most impactful moments on television over the past 50 years:

1. Sept. 11 tragedy (2001)
2. Hurricane Katrina (2005)
3. O.J. Simpson verdict (1995)
4. Challenger space shuttle disaster (1986)
5. Death of Osama bin Laden (2011)
6. O.J. Simpson white Bronco chase (1994)
7. Earthquake in Japan (2011)
8. Columbine High School shootings (1999)
9. BP oil spill (2010)
10. Princess Diana’s funeral (1997)
11. Death of Whitney Houston (2012)
12. Capture and execution of Saddam Hussein (2006)
13. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech (2008)
14. The Royal Wedding (2011)
15. Assassination of John F. Kennedy (1963)
16. Oklahoma City bombing (1995)
17. Bush/Gore election results (2000)
18. L.A. riots (1992)
19. Casey Anthony verdict (2011)
20. Funeral of John F. Kennedy (1963)

I may not have been born until the 80′s, but I can appreciate the assignation of a popular President as a relatively big deal. Given the state of the geo-political landscape in the early 60′s it safe to say that this had a very meaningful impact on every American and world politics. That is probably a gross understatement of the impact. If that wasn’t enough, the man accused of killing the President was, in turn, murdered LIVE on national television. Let that sink in for a moment. So, here is a list of events the polled public found more “impactful” that the above:

3. O.J. Simpson verdict (1995)
6. O.J. Simpson white Bronco chase (1994)
10. Princess Diana’s funeral (1997)
11. Death of Whitney Houston (2012)
12. Capture and execution of Saddam Hussein (2006)
14. The Royal Wedding (2011)

OJ, #3, really? Look, I watched the OJ verdict just like every other American. It was a riveting disaster of a circus, but come on was that more impactful than the Assassination of JFK, L.A. Race Riots, or Bush v. Gore?

Royals in general. I really don’t get the American fascination with British royalty. We fought a war for independence only to be subjected to the tyranny of 8 f*ing weeks of media coverage because the guy who was lucky enough to be born into a family of people supported by British tax payers married an active brunette. I have an idea for austerity, stop taxing your citizens so a group of people with no meaningful purpose can live better than you could ever hope for.

But the real creme dela creme here is Whitney Houston. She was a great singer, and a fallen star. She hadn’t been relevant in a decade, yet somehow we decided her death was more impactful than:

13. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech (2008)
15. Assassination of John F. Kennedy (1963)
16. Oklahoma City bombing (1995)
17. Bush/Gore election results (2000)
18. L.A. riots (1992)
20. Funeral of John F. Kennedy (1963)

Scary, how we determine importance. For the record here are some world events that didn’t even make the top 20:

The Berlin Wall coming down (1989)
The first moon landing (1969)
The resignation of Richard Nixon (1974)
Apollo 13 crisis (1970)
Assassination of John Lennon (1980)

Here are some links:

 MSNBC
Full list of Rankings
Yahoo News
The Obligatory Slide Show 
Neilson on Facebook

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