If I hear the name John Edwards used in the same sentence with "love child" again I think I am going to throw a TV set out of a third story window. Who really cares about this story that has captured the news for the last two weeks? Apparently somebody. Maybe a lot of bodies. But does it really affect any of us personally? Are any of us honestly surprised?
I have no more interest in this than I did about a senator with a wide stance in a men's room, or the governor paying the high-priced hooker on his trips to the capitol. Am I supposed to be shocked and horrified when I hear a slimy ambulance chaser who employs junk science to pull millions out of insurance company pocketbooks has cheated on his wife?
Heck, I half expect it.
Yet the media, the entity that is supposed to provide the news, is merely providing the public with a steady diet of what they gorge on at the trough everyday. The media stopped reporting news long ago and now reports on what many in this country want. Dirt, gossip, salacious details about who is sleeping with whom, who is the father of each new baby born out of wedlock or whether Britney is wearing underwear.
The media is a business, and as such they look for a need and attempt to fill it in the hope of increasing viewership, which allows increases in ad rates and translates into profits. Instead of demanding a windfall profit tax on "big oil," Barack Obama should look into a tax on the tripe the media serves up each day. Every new scandal that attracts eyeballs should entitle the government to a piece of the profit don't you think? The deficit could be erased overnight.
In America there is a growing hunger for the lowest level of human depravity that can be found. Jerry Springer and Maury Povich should bring tears to every viewer's eyes, yet they evoke laughter as the viewer is entertained by the pain and sickness of the weakest among us. It has reached staggering proportions, and there is no end in sight as to just how far the media conglomerates will go to dredge up the filth they package as news.
If a grown person is asked what their favorite food is, they will answer with mom's cooking. Now mind you mom might have been a lousy cook, but you ate it so many times you learned to enjoy it, and it became your "comfort" food. It takes you back to a time in your life that was important in developing who you are now.
An appetite for mom's food came without you even knowing it.
The same principle applies for the appetite America has for voyeurism. We have been fed a steady diet of this type of "reporting" for so long, many have developed a fond taste for the tasteless. When I was a kid, this trash was only found in the tabloids. And if you were caught reading the National Enquirer in the '60s, you were punished. It was clearly off limits. But not anymore. The Enquirer is now tame compared to the lead stories on the evening news. And the reason for it is demand.
The recent Edwards/affair/love child episode is just one more example of just how far we have gone as a nation. While talking to a friend the other day, I was asked during the conversation, "Do you think the baby is Edwards?" It hit me like a ton of bricks that that very question is on many minds in America. Maybe even more so than Iraq, energy prices, Russia, Georgia or even the upcoming election.
I am no big fan of the Edwards, but I think what has been done to Elizabeth, a woman in the battle for her life, is sick beyond words. Apparently Elizabeth went through the pain of this affair many months ago. She reconciled with her husband and her God. And now for the media to run this as a legitimate story worthy of front-page and lead-story status is beyond the pale to me.
Look, I have heard all the reactions and reasoning.
* "This scandal points to the character of a man who was running for president." News flash: He lost in the primaries – probably because people already knew he was a pig.
* "If he had been a conservative Republican, the story would have been run 24/7." Do you expect less from the liberal media?
* "He used her illness to solicit sympathy while he was out cheating." No shock there.
The excuses for the coverage of these types of stories are endless.
Lying, cheating, stealing and other human failures hurt the perpetrator and the victim, not the average person reading about this sick stuff. I have yet to hear one person ask, "Why would he want to hurt himself and do something he will regret forever?"
The whole Edwards story to me reveals just how disturbed many people are in America. My heart breaks for the Edwards. I don't care how the media covered for him, or how he possibly used funds from his campaign to pay hush money. If he broke the law, he should be prosecuted. If the media covered for him, turn the channel and watch real news; if you can find it. But why not try and find just a little bit of compassion in your heart for the children who will soon lose their mom – or the husband who knows he broke his wife's heart while she was battling to stay alive. A husband who, one day in the not so distant future, will stand by the coffin of the mother of his children riddled with the regret of his actions. He will have guilt I hope my worst enemy will never have to endure.
The day we, as a nation, find ourselves taking pleasure in the failures of others is the day we need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves how we developed such morbid appetites. We need to figure out how to stop the desire to fill that appetite. The fact that Maury and Jerry's guests entertain us should alert us that something inside of us is way off.
But until then expect the media to continue to seek out in full detail, complete with grainy videos, all the sordid details for us to feast on in the evening news. Expect "reporters" from the major networks to lurk about like the slime seekers from the Enquirer for they know once they have the "scoop," you will scoop it up and ask for more.
So don't blame the media for what they put on your table for dinner every night. You asked for it, and like any other business what you ask for they will always deliver.
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