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We’ll Always Have Paris, Mika My Love
I am in love with Mika Brzezinski.
I guess a lot of other people are, too, and for the same reason: Ms. Brzezinski (oh, what the heck, let’s call her Mika) is the MSNBC anchor who finally decided enough was enough where alleged “news” about Paris Hilton was concerned.
A few weeks ago, as the “news” about Ms. Hilton (oh, what the heck, let’s keep calling her Ms. Hilton) kept showing up in Mika’s copy for MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program – as the lead story, no less, on the day after Sen. Richard Lugar made his important statement about the administration’s Iraq strategy -- Mika finally did what I and many others have been hoping, wishing, even praying for.
She said no.
She crumpled the story into a ball and threw it away. When it turned up again, she ran it though a paper shredder. When it happened again, she took a lighter to it.
"My skin was crawling,” she said. “This was our lead? On a day like this? To me, it was just the ultimate Paris Hilton out-of-control moment. We've gone too far and we've got to stop.”
Now, I didn’t see any this on television. I was among the millions who caught it online, as a clip on YouTube. Personally, I don’t believe in turning on the television in the morning for anything but emergencies and matters of national importance. Or a Marx Brothers movie.
I clicked on the clip because Mika and I go back, sort of. I used to do commentary for the CBS News overnight program, “Up To The Minute.” Mika was an anchor, and the only one who didn’t give the camera that “I have no idea what this man is talking about looks” when my pieces aired. She actually sort of laughed, once. Ok, smiled.
But I love her because Mika (what a great name; it’s just like Mike, only different) did something that every other media outlet short of the National Enquirer should have been doing long ago, but is afraid to. Yes, afraid.
Big time news – network and big-city level -- is a fear-based enterprise, folks. The people who run it are (a.) scared by declining viewership and readership, with virtually no young viewers and readers. Since advertisers want the all-inportant Kid Market, the decline cuts into advertising revenue, which makes shareholders unhappy.
So the news execs try to attract young people by (b.) dumbing down the news with junk about Paris Hilton and the like. This, they hope, will increase readership and revenue, making shareholders happy so the executives can (c.) keep their phoney-baloney jobs, to quote Mel Brooks. Meanwhile, reporters are being laid off coast to coast, which stinks on ice, also to quote Mel Brooks.
The other day I was wondering what the answer might be if we asked the American people to do a word-association test on “Paris.” Something tells me the answer would not be “France.” It wouldn’t even be “Illinois.”
Mika Brzezinski took a stand against that kind of stupidity. Some say it was nothing more than a stunt. So what? If it was, it still delivered an important message, and I thank her for it. I salute her for it. I love her for it.
I’m still not going to watch morning TV, though. Unless they’re showing “Duck Soup,” that is.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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