If you happen to depend, as many
of us do, on evening television newscasts to get up to date on
what happened in your world during the day, you found out on
Feb. 8 that Playboy magazine model Anne Nicole Smith was found
dead in her hotel room. You found out in minute detail repeated
over and over. It seemed that Iraq, Congress, the White House
and scores of other venues at comparable levels of significance
had vanished. Furthermore, it was most disconcerting to hear the
same news anchors who frequently tell people discussing
important topics that time runs out in 30 seconds rattle on
about the supposed overriding implications of Ms. Smith's
P.S./ To be fair we'll note that
Public Broadcasting's Jim Lehrer didn't have any trouble keeping
things in proper perspective.
Media treatment of Senator Joe
Biden's now infamous patronizing remark
about his colleague and rival for the Democratic nomination
Barack Obama graphically demonstrates what has gone wrong with
Nearly two years before voters go
to the polls and 18 months before the two major parties choose
their candidates, an obviously off-handed comment with potential
for unintended consequences not only takes on immediate headline
status in virtually every newspaper and news outlet in the
nation but also is repeated often enough that it reaches the
most casual observer. Even the New York Times, the recognized
'paper of record', saw fit to lift a single sentence from an
unrelated article published in an obscure periodical to the top
of its report on Biden's formal entry into the competition.
Others way down on the journalism scale are treating it as if it
is destined to achieve historical significance.
Although we admit to previously
managing to avoid any knowledge of the existence of the New York
Observer, Delaforum sought out the complete article to share
with our readers. (If you missed it last Thursday,
CLICK HERE to read
it.) There's no cause to call the Pulitzer Prize committee into
special session, but it's not all that bad a bit of reporting.
The point, though, is that if
things are that lacking in substance this far from the election,
how bored are we going to get before November, 2008, arrives.
Truth to be told, of course, the
nation is now gripped by a significant debate on the wisdom of
continuing the failed war in Iraq and the senior senator from
Delaware is very much in the midst of that debate. Too many
American troops -- 3,100 so far -- have been killed and more
than 23,000 have been injured to relegate the issue to a
comparative political game begun more than a year before it
should have been.
Before the invasion Biden was a
leader in an attempt to divert President Bush from his
ill-conceived course. Since then Biden has been proven right at
each step of a necessarily evolving position to deal with the
results of his and others having been unsuccessful in their
efforts to avert the calamity.
Yes, Biden did vote in favor of
the congressional resolution the President continues to cite as
his authority to wage the war, the key element of which was to
destroy Iraq's "capability and willingness to use weapons of
mass destruction against other nations and its own people." If
that resolution is still in force even though the premises upon
which it was based have been shown to have been invalid, why
should the counter-resolution now working its way through
Congress be taken as non-binding?
With his widely recognized
expertise and the influence he has deservedly earned
through many years of distinguished service so sorely needed in
the Congress, the nation cannot afford to have Biden cut down by
a single sentence -- albeit a stupid one -- for which he has
apologized. Whether the future takes him to the White House, the
State Department or wherever, the present requires that he
remain fully effective where he is.