Some thoughts responding, in part, to Wade Tatangelo's blog post at Creative Loafing/Tampa (which itself was sparked by an Ann Powers column in the L.A. Times):
Assessing how and why the glorified karaoke of American Idol (really belongs to the television beat, not the pop music beat) and the teenypop of Hannah Montana/Cyrus Miley and "High School Musical" resonate with the public is one thing, and probably worth a column or two.
But covering these shows ad nauseum is something else, the equivalent of serving as a cog in the conglomerates' machines. Would any of the smart, influential writers from the first generation of pop/rock critics have given this much attention to the Monkees or the Partridge Family?
It's sad, and ironic, that so many newspapers force their music critics -- and other critics -- into writing about entertainment that appeals to the very young and/or uninformed, when those are the very people who stopped reading newspapers and newspaper-related blogs, long ago.
Meanwhile, newspapers run off the people who are still loyal to newspapers, by encouraging nonstop coverage of celebrities and passing entertainment mini-trends, and apparently discouraging writers from covering artists who might last longer than, you know, one cycle of download popularity.
The kids are gone. Why won't newspaper managers focus on encouraging critics to serve the readers still willing to support these increasingly irrelevant vehicles for information delivery?
Who knows? Just might keep the beast alive.