Friday, August 15, 2008

Some things the news media should not cover

At times, I do have to disagree with Leonard Pitts, jr. And that involves the idea that the news media ought to be some kind of self-described "morals police" while seeking the latest salacious angle in what can be called tabloid style journalism. To recap why President Bill Clinton had to humiliate himself in front of the nation by confessing to an affair with a young intern, is because the GOP had decided that misdemeanors like adultery could now be placed on the level of federal offenses. What Pitts forgets about the Clinton supporters, is that they aren't that stupid. They recognize that just because a state law decides that adultery is a crime, doesn't mean that it is a crime to afflict the national interest. A president afflicting damage on the U.S. Constitution causes far more concern for the national interest than a young intern as a mistress to a president. A president that puts the special interests ahead of national interests, that results in lead poison in imported toys, or for that matter, e Coli in the food you eat, that is far more a matter of concern for the general public, than whether that president sowed wild oats in his younger years. Which begs the argument of what priorities the news media truly has.

Consider this, Senator McCain had affairs before divorcing his first wife. No doubt, he suffered a middle aged crisis and literally dumped his wife for a younger woman. He none the less ran for public office and was elected. The now late Helen Chenoweth, truly embarrassing in many ways to the state of Idaho, was a home wrecker. She ran for office, twice, was elected. The second time, to put another "home wrecker" out of office. Where it counts, the voters simply have not cared what the personal life of the politician is. What matters is whether the politician can deliver. So when Pitts made the argument that the politician, in this case, Edwards put his own interests ahead of his family, and therefore would he put his own interests ahead of the nation; ya just gotta ask, what has the last 8 years of GW been like? GW, presumably is faithfully married. But he definitely hasn't put the interests of the nation first. And Katrina had been a defining moment that proved just how little GW cared about his fellow Americans. On the other hand, Clinton, for all his daliances with Monica Lewinsky, was all over the first attack on the WTC. Set up counter-terrorism measures. And all the news media and the "family values" GOP could focus on was Paula Jones. Clinton, despite his flaws, came out of his presidency with a better smell test than GW is currently capable of. In short, Clinton delivered. GW hasn't to date.

Edwards is a private citizen. His presidential bid having failed, then a Monica waiting in the wings to derail a presidency is a moot issue. So why did it become a one day sensation? Why are respected to zany columnists and bloggers still prepared to cover something that no longer involves a public official. That's correct, John Edwards is a private not public official. His decisions to involve himself in an affair with Hunter is of concern only to his family and friends and not the nation. Joe Blow, your neighbor, who runs around on his wife, wouldn't even get such national attention, let alone national condemnation. And if Joe Blow decided to run for public office, his past activities might not rise up to haunt him, as long as he is promising something along the ideological front to whoever in his district. That is what is referred to as forgiveness. Or the least of the prospective voters' concerns.

What got to be so truly hillarious, was that the "family values" GOP, who on that ideological basis felt that they could drive out of office a man who failed to live up to his own marital requirements, have yet to drive out of office guys like Craig and Vitter. That while supporting "defense of marriage" all to often proved an unwillingness to defend their own. McCain proclaims that he is the better man for the U.S. presidency, who committed adultery, divorced and remarried. And then drages his younger wife before a biker rally and "jokes" that his wife should participate in a biker beauty contest. He doesn't even respect his current marriage. Yet, that had less coverage and fewer bloggers commenting than Edward's two year old affair. Why is that? McCain is a public figure, why is he getting such a free pass? McCain is running to head the nation, while trolling for votes at a biker rally, didn't he put his own interests ahead of respectability, looking presidential, and informing the nation that he knows what the hell he is doing as a prospective commander in chief. Yet, Pitts would rather discuss Edwards. Well then, if Edwards would have made a lousy president because of Hunter, then McCain is surely just as bad because of Cindy.

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