Jewish World Review July 25, 2003 / 25 Tamuz, 5763

Greg Crosby

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Consumer Reports

Summertime and the reportin' is sleazy

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Summer is usually a slow time for news. Maybe it's the hot weather or because people are off on vacations, but the big news items at this time of year typically tend to be of the shark attack and sex scandal variety — with maybe a bit of dirty politics thrown in for good measure. I haven't heard much from the shark front yet, but we're got our big sex scandal of the season with Kobe Bryant. (By the way, did you know that Kobe is named for the Japanese beef? That has nothing to do with anything, I just thought it was interesting.)

For several days running the Kobe thing was front page news. Did he rape the young lady in his hotel room or was the sex consensual? Is she just another opportunist zeroing in on a famous rich celebrity or was she taken in by a good-looking sports star? Is he just another cheating husband who was out for a good time or is he an egocentric self-indulgent superstar who takes whatever he wants? Who's the villain? Who's the victim? Who cares? What a yawn.

And have you noticed how the media has been treating the story as if it were a major league sporting event? Not only television, the print media, too. "Kobe really scored some strong points with his press conference yesterday, Jim." "That's right, Connie, did you see how supportive his wife looked? I wonder how the prosecution will counter that?" Between Kobe Bryant and Scott Peterson, the press is having a wonderfully euphoric summer.

On the political side of boring news stuff, the Democrats it appears, are still searching for that big exposť which will turn America against President Bush altogether. They couldn't find anything hugely scandalous (like diddling with interns in the Oval Office) or politically corrupting (like selling White House favors for illegal political contributions) or dangerous to our national security (like giving away nuclear secrets to communist China). So they go after the minutia — analyzing individual words, pulling sentences out of context from political speeches — in a feeble attempt to paint Bush as a bad guy. How pathetic they are. You know the expression, "get a life"? Well, this party needs to "get a serious platform."

The other hot political topic this summer is the California recall of Governor Gray Davis. DNC boss Terry McAuliffe has declared that if California holds a recall election on Davis, no Democrat will run against him. In other words, screw you registered Democratic voters — either you vote for Davis or there'll be a Republican in office. So there. To quote McAuliffe exactly, "So if you're a California voter and you want to vote to recall Gray Davis, you are not going to have an option but a bunch of right-wing conservatives on the ballot." McAuliffe is resorting to the lowest form of political rhetoric — scare tactics.

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Never mind that Davis is an incompetent slime ball. Never mind that he lied to the voters. Never mind that he took a state with a strong budget surplus and ran it into a multi-billion dollar deficit.

Never mind that his approval ratings are the LOWEST IN THE HISTORY OF ANY GOVERNOR IN ANY STATE IN THE UNION! His approval ratings are down in the low thirties even among California Democrats!

No, forget all that — the national Democratic party will back him no matter how crappy he is! They'll stand behind this nincompoop because ... well, because he's THEIR nincompoop! Better to have one of their own guys, even though he's a jackass, then to elect a governor from the other party who might possibly be competent. The hell with California as long as we do everything we can to keep Gray Davis in office. He's like a really horrible civil servant that you can't fire no matter how bad he is! Like those nasty people who resent having to sell you stamps at the post office, otherwise known as postal workers.

In spite of the summer doldrums (why is it always summer doldrums, not fall doldrums or spring doldrums? As a kid I wanted to learn to play the doldrums but my mother insisted I take bass fiddle lessons instead.) there have been a few important news stories this past week. For instance, Saddam's sons, Qusai and Udai, are ead-day. Wonderful news. Couldn't happen to a bigger pair of bastards. Now if we can only get daddy, we'll be able to have a nice father and sons triple burial. Kind of like "take your sons to work day" except this time it's "take your sons to hell day."

And from the good guys side, former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch returned to her hometown in West Virginia after spending four months hospitalized after suffering injures in an ambush in Iraq. She looked happy to be home, but a bit scared in front of all the cameras. After her brief speech she was taken off stage and I could see her make a "whew, I'm glad that's over" gesture with her hand. I can imagine how she must have dreaded having to speak in front of the whole world.

In today's everybody-wants-to-be-famous culture, it's refreshing to see someone who doesn't feel a need to wallow in celebrity. Good for you, Jessica — and welcome home. Now let's hope the media leaves her alone and she can get back to living as normal a life as possible.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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