Really, don’t we all have more important things to consider? Ok, if you care anything about the media coverage of Jenna Bush, raise your hand. Both of you should be ashamed of yourselves. The rest of us should be ashamed as well because we still read and watch the trash, even if it holds only mild distaste. It’s not totally our fault since the stories have been right in front of us for a while. On alone, four instances involving the twins appear on the front page alone. Extra! Extra! Jenna Bush is a teenager. Stop the presses. Thank God for freedom of speech. How many of us read the Enquirer-esque tawdries of the presidential progeny while at the same time ignore our own kids doing the same things? How many adults didn’t use a fake ID just once? It’s probably the same two of you who raised your hands earlier. You should still be ashamed. If for different reasons. Yes, talking about Jenna’s wild tape that is rumored to exist in the nefarious hands of some of her peers at the University of Texas is much more fun than discussing anything of import. But remember that we already have her grandfather puking on the Japanese emperor. Can Jenna really top that? Would you really want to see her try? Perhaps it is a good point to say that W’s girls ought to know better. Maybe Chelsea Clinton was the role model of the perfectly presidential child. On the other hand, it’s not as if the president is going out of his way to bail the girls out or that Chelsea’s pristine image removed the stain on Monica Lewinsky’s dress. Perhaps we could also ask that our leader’s kids conduct themselves with a touch more decorum in light of our world prestige. If that’s the case, then we should send Jenna over to England to learn her manners from the royal relatives. Give her a month and she’ll do the whole of America proud. The biggest problem is that there are far more important issues to discuss. About this president even. The role of the U.S. in the U.N. has been significantly cut in matters of human rights. A Darth Vader like plan of covering the sky with nuclear weapons seems imminent. The F.B.I. has been shown to be at best incompetent with the Timothy McVeigh case and at worst filled with (ahem) foreign sympathies (read: spies). This makes no mention of environmental conservatism being drilled out of the ground vis-a-vis economic conservatism. Where’s our focus? Why all the interest in whether the first daughter pukes rather than whether her dad is a good president? Just a few months ago the nation couldn’t seem to decide whether Bush was the president. Now, we ache for some scandal to remind us that he won’t last one term. Part of the problem lies with the media. This stuff draws ratings the same way free heroin draws addicts. People can’t help themselves and the media knows it. In a world of higher profit-margin demands, shrinking advertising, and a lack of real scandal in the White House, we are now reduced to following the errant Bush twins as if they are about to sprout horns and confirm that they are indeed spawn of Satan. Instead of filling space with important stuff, the media goes for the easy story, the one that will generate the most conversation. It’s called pandering and it is a favorite tactic. The pull is strong. There have been times, desperate for copy and under a deadline, this writer has snuck some trash in. Ok, so I’m not proud of it. But I’ll make you a deal. If you stop reading it, I’ll do my best not to print it.


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