One Nation Under Schadenfreude

Bob Cesca at the Huffington Post has said something I have been saying to myself and to my co-workers for a while. Not sure why I haven't made mention about this until now, but after watching CNN all day I can't help but admit that Bob says it better than I could:

All three major cable news networks are wasting valuable air time on Senator Obama's former pastor. Why? Is the story newsworthy? Sure. Is wall-to-wall Wright coverage more important than Iraq or gas prices or the climate crisis? No way. But Reverend Wright is a scary, shouting black man and scary shouting black men equal ratings-sweet-ratings.

We have a president that not only condones, but in light of the now infamous, yet barely reported John Yoo memo, outright approves the use of torture in order to justify his own ass-backwards ideas that doing so makes the country safer from terrorists.

In case you have forgotten about it, the secret memo, created by the Department of Justice in 2003, and only declassified when the American Civil Liberties Union sued under the Freedom of Information Act - states in black and white that the President of the United States has unlimited power to order the brutal, unconstitutional abuse of any prisoner it wants, all in the name of national security:

"If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network." The memo goes on to say, "In that case, we believe that he could argue that the executive branch's constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions."

Our president can order the torture of a prisoner and all he has to do is say that doing so will help prevent terrorists from harming Americans. One would think that this would be pretty significant news worth reporting.

Yet all we've been shown on the networks lately is Pastor Wright'- crazy ass rantings about things that most people have been bitching about for decades.

Why is this news? Why is this being discussed for days? What does it possibly matter to the bigger issues going on?

Could it be that this has to do more with the fact that we are in yet-another sweeps month and to Americans, public mud-raking is INFINITELY more entertaining than petty little things like democracy or blatant violations of the Geneva convention and the usurping of Constitutional executive power.

Ah sweeps, that all-important time of the year for commercial television stations around the country, where they do whatever they can to entice, titillate and beg viewers to tune in to their poorly-written and ethically-challenged newscasts.

Pay no attention to the real issues, America. Never mind the fact that our economy is swirling down the drain in a textbook definition of a recession and that our country is generally hated by the majority of the planet. Look at the crazy black preacher accuse the US of creating AIDS! Look at the presidential candidate try to distance himself from it all!

And look! He's not wearing a flag lapel pin! He must be a terrorist!! Let's cover this for the entire day and get our political pundits to analyze, debate, discuss and posture about it.

Then we can talk about the crazy mormon cult some more!

And dont forget to tune in tonight to see who gets voted off American Idol!

Woohoo! Ratings gold, my friends. Pure Nielsen mana from heaven.

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