No news news media
There been a lot of news in the past two weeks.
Some of it was even reported by the news media.
First, there was a football player from Notre Dame who either did or didn't know that his girlfriend was or wasn't real, but died sometime during the season. Six-column headlines for several days announced the fraud. Network news and talk show hosts rehashed it almost daily.
Two weeks ago, Lance Armstrong admitted he was a dope. Or maybe he just took dope. The news media kept sending urgent flashes all week of what he was going to tell Oprah. And then he told Oprah, and now we'll be reading stories about it until Schwinn adds a jet engine to a 3-speed.
Subway is accused of making foot-long hoagies that are 11 inches, a problem that the executives wisely didn't say was due to shrinkage in cold weather. The media seized this major fraud and, ignoring anything Congress or Wall Street was doing, slathered layers of hype on a story that should have died with three paragraphs in one day.
Of course, there was the inauguration. That became another way for bloviators and pretend-journalists to push their own agendas. They told us how unpopular this president is since attendance was way down from the first inauguration. Only 500,000 attended. They didn't tell us that second inaugurations always have much fewer people watching them in person than first inaugurations. And, that figure of 500,000? A little short of the actual number of one million. They said the inauguration was overly long and overpriced, although most of it was paid for by private donations. Something they didn't mention was that the costs and day's activities were about the same as for the previous president, and most presidents of the latter 20th century - Democrat or Republican.
Some of these pundits suggested that the president didn't have a mandate, although he easily won by more than five million votes and a near landslide in the Electoral College. A few of the more extreme even suggested he had stolen the election - how else could he have won over the nice businessman who bought and sold companies and helped improve the economy of Switzerland and the Canary Islands?
For the rest of the networks, the focus was on a constant blather of what Michelle Obama would be wearing. Whose dress? Whose gloves? This, of course, was mixed into all kinds of gushes and comments about her new 'do. You know, the one that had bangs. The day after the inauguration, the media were all over the story of the Beyoncé kerfuffle. Did she or didn't she lip-sync the national anthem? Truly great news coverage there.
Hillary Clinton testified before the Televised Republican Congressional Inquisition trying to make their bones to either enhance their own chances for re-election or to block what they think may be her plan to run for the presidency in 2016. This would be some of the same people who thought she was faking a concussion to avoid testifying in the first place.
The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, scheduled for Harrisburg Feb. 2 to 10, was canceled. The Expo is the largest in North America, but the organizers decided that in the wake of the Newtown murders, they would put a temporary moratorium on the sale of military-style assault weapons because they believed "the presence of MSRs (military style rifles) would distract from the theme of hunting and fishing, disrupting the broader experience of our guests." Only a dozen or so of the 1,200 vendors were affected; most were selling clothes, rifles, turkey calls, tents and anything related to outdoor sports. But, one-by-one, vendors, the media and dozens of celebrities - all with NRA encouragement and support - decided not to attend, somehow believing that a hunting and fishing exhibition that didn't allow the purchase of assault weapons was somehow anti-American and gave a message that those who did attend were opposed to the Second Amendment. The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported that the cancellation could result in a loss of $43 million to the local economy.
More than 32,000 will die from gun violence by the end of the year, according to the Brady Center. Last week, 78 Americans, including four pre-teens, died from gun violence. As has been the case for hundreds of previous weeks, the NRA leadership, with the egos of a gang of schoolboys who overdosed on testosterone, continue to defy all attempts to reach sensible solutions to allow the purchase of guns, yet reduce the violence.
A 38-year-old sergeant died from wounds received near Kabul, Afghanistan. More than 7,600 American and allied soldiers were killed and more than 50,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. President Obama, fulfilling a campaign promise, ended the war in Iraq and is months from ending the one in Afghanistan.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who numerous times promised to stop the abuse of the filibuster that blocked meaningful legislation and presidential appointments, turned wimp last week. He and minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who once vowed his top priority was solely to prevent Barack Obama from serving a second term, may have been last seen hugging, kissing and preparing to be married in Massachusetts.
Last week, the stock market hit new records, and it looks like President Obama may receive some of the credit for helping to stop the Great Recession, something that upsets Republicans, delights Democrats and has no meaning to anyone homeless or unemployed.
Yes, there was a lot of news this past week. Some of it may actually be reported some day.
(Walt Brasch, author and retired university professor, writes "Wanderings," normally for the Sunday edition.)