Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pawlenty, Ford, and Coleman

Nick Coleman's Minneapolis Star Tribune column is particularly bad today. Coleman complains that Governor Pawlenty had a single day of inaugural festivities (scaled back from a week for previous inaugurations). He also complains about the national day of mourning for President Ford. In one column, he manages to trot out a laundry list of complaints about Pawlenty, and even gets in a dig at Ford's pardon of his White House predecessor (haven't heard about the pardon in the past few days, have we?).

The typical Coleman touch is to juxtapose his criticism of the high and mighty with an interview with a lowly victim. In one recent column, we read how Coleman was thwarted in interviewing someone at Roosevelt High School to get their reaction to the closing of a nearby public library. For the Ford/Pawlenty bashing, he had easy access to victims in the street across from the inaugural ceremonies.

Gerald Ford had been dead eight days and was on his second or third funeral yesterday, but it still was necessary that government offices be closed (for the third day in a row). This presented a hardship for people such as Shanna Brinkley, who zeroed out her bus card to bring her 6-week-old baby, Nyasia, to the doctor and was hoping her mother would come pick her up because no bus cards for poor were available, out of respect to a dead president.

"People have things to do," she said with frustration, hugging her baby in a blanket, waiting for her ride across Wabasha Street from Palm Tuesday at the Fitz. "The government ought to do better. This is messed up."Ford shouldn't have pardoned Nixon," a former bus driver named William McMillan said. "If a poor person steals anything, he goes to jail. Nixon stole the White House, but he got pardoned."

I think there is a column to be written about Shanna Brinkley, but not the one Coleman wrote. Federal offices are closed to mourn the loss of a president (what a raw deal for Brinkley that someone died). Are bus cards ONLY available from the federal government? Are they ONLY available on the first day of the month? But for that stinker Ford dying and making Shanna's life difficult, she would have gotten free bus fare on time?

1 Comments:

Blogger Derek Jensen said...

I agree with your analysis here, but what's with the whole cult of personality around dead POTUS's?

Since when did we become a monarchy?

It's the media circus. They need to sell advertising, so they create phony "news" and spectacles. Nowhere, perhaps, is there a better illustration of the principle that the observation of a phenomenon affects the phenomenon. The media makes news, it does not just report it. Given the "media" in which they operate, I suppose that it would be impossible for them to "just report." It's amazing. The media creates this big national drama almost out of thin air. The politicians are constantly watching out for the media, acting in accordance with news cycles, scheduling press conferences, appearing on talk shows and news programs. Phony, phony, phony. And we the sheep are supposed to accept this manipulation as if it were reality.

And because most of us do accept it, somehow it becomes reality. We start crying for Gerald Ford, recalling fondly the Ford years. Now we get Bob Woodward's interviews with Ford being published post-humously, and for 15 minutes everybody is supposed to care. And then, once the 15 minutes is up, we are directed to turn our attention once again to Obama or some other media creation and again get ourselves all worked up. Really, it's amazing.

January 03, 2007 1:49 PM  

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