by Charles Goyette
January 30, 2012
It looks just like a reality show that’s not going to be renewed for another season. President Obama’s State of the Union ratings are headed in the same direction as American Idol’s so far this season – down.
Let me make a secret confession right here. For years, the producer of my radio talk show and I would draw straws each January to see who would “have the high privilege and distinct honor” of watching the president’s State of the Union address.
Do I have to clarify that the loser had to watch?
In case the president said something important – which almost never happened – I felt an obligation to play some audio clips and talk about it on the show the next morning. But, personally, watching Republican and Democrat presidents recite their laundry list of promised giveaways for the year ahead was more than I could bear.
I learned early on that I could avoid all of the ovations and applause, save time, and still capture what substance there might have been in a written paragraph or two. Soon, I’ll give you such a written account, a perennial synopsis that will allow you to watch something else – like American Idol – and still have a handle on what the president says.
And you might even have time left over to keep an eye on the real news.
While We Were Watching…
The State of the Union is treated with utmost seriousness by the dominant news media. All four major TV networks and the cable news channels carry the event. My local newspaper devoted most of the front page and big chunks of the inside pages to its coverage: photos, accounts, sidebars, response, and analysis.
But it’s actually a spectacle that crowds out the real news. News about the impact American diplomacy is having on our future standard of living. News about the U.S. dollar’s reserve status winding down.
On the day of the State of the Union address, news flashed around the world – but not on your favorite network or in your morning paper – that India and Iran have agreed to end-run the U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran.
They will use gold to do so.