By Steve Klinger
It’s not bad enough that we have gasped our way to the end of an 8-year presidency that was the Hollywood equivalent of and 8-hour John Wayne movie. We have seen GW’s face on our TVs and in our newspapers ad nauseum and heard his voice for so long we could visualize every smirk. Instead of throwing him in jail we re-selected him and played Hail to the Chief.
In these heady days of Obama vs. The World, earnest statesmanship can only keep us awake for so long. We need our fix of twist, our schtick of sick. But there is apparently nothing new on Natalie Holloway, OJ, Paris, Britney, Lindsay, Brangelina, or Scott Peterson this week, and the Travolta family extortion plot wasn’t very exciting, so our nation turns its lonely eyes to you… Rod Blagojevich!
Oh, Rod, you won’t give us a break, will you? No resignation, no remorse, not even a nanosecond of self-doubt. This man who is skipping his own impeachment trial because he basically has no defense, this governor with an 8 percent approval rating, this public official who makes Dick Cheney seem charismatic, this politician whose voice on tape clearly states he will sell a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, this humble public servant throws himself upon our mercy. And what does American television journalism do? Invite him onto every “news” program with a camera and a microphone, of course.
Blago the instant television celebrity has now elevated himself to martyrdom along with King and Gandhi, so victimized that he will soon exhaust historical comparisons, and that other King (Larry) sucks it up. Ditto Katie Couric, and Nightline’s Cynthia McFadden and tomorrow, say it ain’t so: Rachel Maddow!
Of course, when the morning news anchor hasn’t announced you’re being layed off, it’s a little hard to say no to whatever they ask you to do, even if you are the news anchor, but interview Rod Blagojevich on national television? That’s rich. Or more likely poor. But America will do it, mostly without batting an eyelash, because People Will Watch. And advertisers will advertise. And if one network says no, the others will have him all to themselves, won’t they?
But we’ll show our principles, we’ll just ask him tough questions like, is that your real hair, Governor?
I should be an agent because I’d have booked a two-fer: Blago and Bernie Madoff. That’s what our children should be watching. And even in these days of mergers, bankruptcies and endemic publishing panic, you can bet the hardcover houses are duking it out to sign up both of these exemplary citizens for exclusive rights to the memoir and the book-on-tape.
Charles Manson was a media darling, and Ted Bundy, so why not Rod and Bernie, who after all didn’t kill anyone (as far as we know) and are just audacious crooks? Even in hard times a scoundrel can get a big book deal and a TV interview or three. Outcast? Liar? Disgraced pariah? As they say in the biz, there’s no such thing as bad news. If they mention your name it’s good. And if we blog about Blag it’s probably even better.