In this era of dramatic change, I am happy to see that the media has not stopped covering the most important issues facing the nation. While shoddy mortgage lending and outlandish activity among homebuyers were setting the stage for the current economic crisis, the media correctly decided not to obsess over such irrelevant matters. Instead, it provided extensive and exciting coverage of Janet Jackson's partially uncovered breast, Britney Spears' implosion, Paris Hilton's shenanigans, Ashlee Simpson's lipsyncing, and Ben and Jen, Jen and Brad, and Brad and Angelina.
Today, while the economy sits in the toilet, media outlets are again refusing to allow mundane stories to distract them. Instead, they are extensively covering the relationship between radio and television personality Rush Limbaugh and the Republican Party. Earlier this week, the media's intense investigative reporting revealed that RNC Chair Michael Steele "dissed" Rush Limbaugh but then later apologized. Continuing coverage of the situation now proves that Steele's apology indicates that Limbaugh is the leader of the GOP. This same argument led Steele to diss Limbaugh in the first place.
Today, the Washington Post published a lengthy (2 pages) campaign essay -- also known as an op-ed -- written by President Obama's former campaign manager David Plouffe. Plouffe refers to Rush as the "Minority Leader." As of 11:00am (3/4, Eastern Time) Plouffe's essay is listed as the most popular item on the newspaper's website. The second most popular article is yet another opinion piece on Limbaugh. Surprisingly, readers are flocking to the day's most complicated and compelling news items.
A Non-Sarcastic Ending
Before Republicans readers begin condemning the "liberal" media, consider the following issues. A truly liberal media would focus attention on issues like soaring unemployment, which is twice the national average among blacks. The Detroit school system is so cash-strapped that one elementary school has asked parents to donate toilet paper and light bulbs, but Plouffe and other Democrats find Limbaugh a more pressing national concern.
The stock market is utterly unstimulated by the stimulus, and the future looks pretty bearish. 17,000 additional troops are moving into Afghanistan, with perhaps 13,000 more joining them before the end of the year -- a move that will undoubtedly escalate the financial and human costs of the war.
Analyzing these issues could actually demonstrate a legitimate concern for liberal values. Beating up Rush Limbaugh, by contrast, is simply an opportunistic display of partisan buffoonery, which has the same social value as stories related to Britney, Paris and Ashlee. Please do not embarrass liberalism by associating it with bankrupt sensationalism.