The news is looking more and more like reality T-V.
Let’s bypass congress’s daily maddening slugfest over bailouts. Forget their sputtering outrage over the profligate ways of the same car companies they coddled for decades. Let’s head straight to the corruption charges.
As I write this, there is “Breaking News” about Boston City councilor Chuck Turner. He was just arrested at his City Hall office this morning (November 21/2008) for taking bribes. Turner has been on the City Council since 2000.
The FBI apparently videotaped Turner accepting a one-thousand-dollar cash bribe, allegedly to push for a liquor license for a local nightclub. Officials say Turner lied about taking the money. Investigators ordered Turner to keep his computers and telephones off. Turner says that deprives his constituents of “the leadership they want…and won’t allow “this abuse of power” to continue.
Another, more shocking arrest was that of State Senator Dianne Wilkerson in October. She’s charged with accepting eight bribes totaling just under 25-thousand-dollars. Wilkerson was an influential Boston lawmaker who spent 16-years at the Massachusetts State House (Beacon Hill). She and Chuck Turner were allies.
The government seems to be implying that other Boston politicians may get sucked into the widening federal corruption inquiry.
Yet another Massachusetts lawmaker, already caught in a scandal, is State Senator Jim Marzilli. He was forced to resign November 14. Marzilli is awaiting trial on charges he sexually harassed four women earlier this year. Marzilli’s lawyer says the Senator has “a bi-polar condition.”
One commentator quipped Marzilli was well enough to fly to Germany, some weeks ago, where he represented the Massachusetts Senate at an environmental forum. Marzilli also attended a business and academic conference. Marzilli’s little junket apparently didn’t go down well with colleagues!
And last, but definitely not least, the uber-powerful Speaker of The Massachusetts House of Representatives, Sal DiMasi, is caught up in an ethics investigation involving his personal accountant. The accountant apparently helped DiMasi secure a discounted mortgage on The Speaker’s home. DiMasi has reportedly refused to hand some of his records to the ethics commission.
That is just one state. If we go by alphabetical order, Alaska is waiting in the wings.
With those headlines, who needs gloomy economic news? Do we want to hear that Citi Group, which just announced 50-thousand job cuts, may have to cut even more, asssuming it survives…with government help? Or that World Markets are taking a beating? Do we want to decipher terms like “deflation” unless it has to do with politicians egos? Or hear that the “recession” is now official, after conveniently denying it for as long as we could? NO? O-K, here’s what we do:
First, we avoid serious news outlets like NPR or PBS.
Instead, we tune in to one of the many pop-starlet T-V stations that are continuously trying to outdo each other with “Breaking News”.
Do you like stories about pregnant moms who give birth by the highway, over the highway or under the highway? Don’t change that channel!
“Breaking News…” Someone found a suspicious looking bottle in an empty lot. News cameras are on the way. I’m waiting by my T.V biting my nails wondering if there’s a genie in the bottle that is just waiting to get out and annihilate Boston.
“Breaking News” in Oklahoma! (My second dose of Breaking News so far, this afternoon.) Some guy is leading police on a high-speed chase and the chopper can’t keep up. See him speed down the road! Anchors are speculating over why he’s running…the guy’s stopping…no he’s not.
Do you ever wonder what will happen when/if we do have some bona fide “Breaking News” like September Eleven? What are these stations going to call it?
“We’re just getting word of some seriously Breaking News. We mean, REAL breaking news, and this time it’s not any of the crap we’ve been calling breaking news. It’s actually news…and it’s breaking right now!”
I can do without this kind of shocking, numbing, economy devastating, fear-iinducing Breaking News. I will happily tolerate…
“Breaking News!” The guy in Oklahoma is on the ground! He’s being arrested. Do I hear Murrow Award?
For those of you who didn’t know that chase happened in Oklahoma today, just thought I should let you know.
I try to be helpful.