FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013
NEWS BULLETIN BORED
BY BOB FRANKEN
I recently was asked to join a discussion with news executives who were seeking alternatives to the weary old “Breaking News” alarm that TV news operations set off. You know the one. It has been used to hype developing stories of everything from wars to neighborhood block parties. One idea was to accompany the screen graphic with the sound of dishes shattering. But we finally reached a consensus: “Breaking News” would be replaced with “OMG-WTF!,” which means “OH MY GOODNESS-WHAT’S THIS FOOLISHNESS!” But you already knew that.
Just imagine: A tape is leaked to reporter David Corn at Mother Jones magazine, revealing Sen. Mitch McConnell and his campaign peeps planning a heavy-handed negative campaign against movie star and Democratic candidate wannabe Ashley Judd. This is surprising stuff. Who knew that politicians employed oppo research to find bombs to drop on the other side? It may not have been as startling as Corn’s campaign exclusive when he made public the video and audio of Mitt Romney’s “47 Percent” remarks, which arguably cost Romney the election, but this definitely is big stuff. Judd called the meeting “yet another example of the politics of personal destruction that embody Mitch McConnell and are pervasive in Washington,” never mind that she dropped out of the race before she got in. This is clearly OMG-WTF! material.
Actually, this might be a two-clanger. Sen. McConnell, who plays the victim as well as anyone in the game, told reporters, “They were bugging our headquarters -- quite a Nixonian move,” an attack from the “political left.” He requested an FBI investigation. So let’s see: Secret recordings made in today’s age of the smartphone? No question about it: OMG-WTF!
Of course, McConnell’s re-election chances are in greater jeopardy because of challenges from the right. An awful lot of Kentucky extremists (pardon the redundancy) are upset with him for having the effrontery to sometimes work deals with the Democrats. So he’s suddenly attaching himself to the hip of any hardliner he can find. He originally opposed Rand Paul in their state’s GOP primary. Now Mitch has expediently made Rand his BFF. His indignation over the “political left” is pure contrivance. So let’s scratch OMG-WTF! and replace it with SO-SO, as in “SAME OLD-SAME OLD.”
Just about any attempt by Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin to rev up dittohead outrage also would fall into the SO-SO category. That certainly includes their latest faux indignation over something said in an MSNBC promo by program host Melissa Harris-Perry. I'll point out here that I’ve appeared on her program a couple of times, which has nothing to do with anything, but now you know. In the TV ad, as she talks about investing in public education she says that “we have to break through our kind of private idea that ‘kids belong to their parents’ or ‘kids belong to their families’ and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”
It’s a variation of Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village” thoughts, put into her book in 1996. In 2013, however, the concept has brought out the usual village idiots. Limbaugh likened it to “communist genocide.” Palin tweeted that Melissa’s words were “Unflippinbelievable.” Again, clearly not worthy of an OMG-WTF!, even if WTF! actually means “WHAT THE FLIP?”
The point is, we should be treating these never-ending diatribes as meaningless clown acts -- that is, if we pay attention at all. Otherwise, we’re encouraging the buffoons who turn public debate into nasty farce. Those of us who cover this stuff should stop doing play-by-play of the cheap shots and embarrass our leaders to get serious about critical issues, from guns to immigration to budget and, yes, our community’s responsibilities to our kids. If they ever do, then we will be justified when proclaiming OMG-WTF!
© 2013 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.