THE Midwest Republican Leadership Conference was in town this weekend, fighting for news coverage with an airshow and a big lottery jackpot (I went to bed early Saturday, worn out from a day of napping, and awoke at 5 AM, stumbled downstairs, turned on the local news--which I think begins at 4 now--just in time to witness tape of some news gatherer sent out the night before to stick a microphone in people's faces in an effort to ascertain what they'd do with the money if they won. Every weather report--and my wife watches them all--was prefaced with something like "Here's the weather for everyone planning on attending the airshow this weekend!" As though watching planes land in a hailstorm wouldn't be at least as entertaining. It's like through some horrid clerical error local teevee has been taken over by people who only have the IQs for radio. Every fucking thing that goes on is Exciting! And You Should Go! Especially if it involves drinking domestic beer. And this pro-drive-around-and-do-shit bias is never addressed. You never have a guy stick a microphone at someone in a lottery line, asking, "You do realize you've got a better chance of being struck by lightning six times between now and the drawing than you do of winning, right? And your gambling problem makes Baby Jesus cry? Mind if I hold your watch while you go in?" Oh, no. If somebody's promoting it, some sorry-assed careerist with a pasted-on smile is telling you you should Go! Before It's Sold Out! There'll Be Beer!).
The one guy who managed to work the system--this was supposed to be the end of that last sentence, but I kinda ran long--was Fred Dumbo Dalton Thompson, who gave an Exclusive! to Channel 8's Deputy Assistant Co-Anchorperson Karen Hensel, who besides having the worst case of Raccoon Eyes in a market this size is also the precise model of the sort of person you hope you'll never find yourself behind at the deli counter ("Do you have any that's less fatty? Would you mind cutting into every other brisket in the shop so I can check? Is there one of them that's more of a cocoa brown? I've just had the dining room repainted.").
Such impudence, of course, is saved for The Help, not aimed at the likes of movie stars. I listened to the excerpts, which only confirmed my suspicions that Thompson is dumber than a recent Law & Order script. Then I found the complete transcript on the Channel 8 site, and it occurred to me that you didn't really need any of Dumbo's answers to enjoy the thing anyway. So without further ado...Karen Hensel, ladies and gentlemen:
Karen: Advice for Peyton as he goes into the game tonight?
Karen: You are used to auditions, now you are auditioning for the career of a lifetime. How do you prepare for that?
Karen: People do compare you to Ronald Reagan, is that fair. Are you similar?
Karen: At a time some people are calling for troop withdrawal, if you were President today, what would be your message-what would be your decision?
Karen: A year ago I was in Iraq and I have focused a lot on roadside bombs and the traumatic brain injuries our troops are getting. As they come back and this war ends are there any military programs you would like to see in place that are not already there or ones we should focus on?
Karen: I know you've said "it won't be long" about making an announcement one way or the other. What's the advantage to showing up in the polls as well as you do, showing up at events and you haven't declared?
Karen: Your producer from Law and Order said when you walk in the room people want to "stand and salute". Is there anything similar between you and the tough guy we know from Law and Order?
That's the Exclusive! I was really disappointed that she didn't ask him whether he thought being married to one of the Bush Twins was helping or hurting his chances. Or if he had some lucky lotto numbers.
Local news is disgusting, pathetic and angering everywhere. It's as though there was a surplus of spinelessness and they got it all. Most of it anyway, newspapers got it too.
Karen, honey. I know Law & Order goes on and on about how you should never ask a question you don't know the answer to--but those are witnesses, not interviewees.
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