Scandal overload for the national news

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

In "normal" times, an historic foreign trip by a U.S. president would be the subject of massive news coverage focused on sensitive talks and potential new alliances with both friends and foes.

But there's nothing "normal" about these times, as the news coverage instead involves awkward handshakes and fish feeding. More coverage is devoted to the first lady's attire than the substance of talks with foreign leaders.

Meanwhile back at home, the foreign trip is overshadowed by new revelations in a book concerning the 2016 Clinton campaign and the bombshell allegations of inappropriate sexual advances by a Republican senatorial candidate.

Veterans Day was all but overshadowed by the status of ongoing NFL protests over the national anthem boycott. And new headlines virtually every day nab a new player in the Hollywood casting couch saga.

In the midst of these scandalous news nuggets, Congress may well decide this week the fate of the largest tax overhaul in 30 years.

Like the Twilight Zone, we have reached a new era of scandal in just about every phase of our daily lives.

We have little time to focus on substance because we are bombarded with style.

Perhaps it's just human nature, but it's likely this year's Thanksgiving tables will be more lively with the issues of Hollywood instead of Washington, D.C.

In so many aspects, we have simply lost our way.

We are rapidly approaching the point of scandal overload.

Though there is no true comparison, I well recall the almost daily scandals surrounding Watergate. Same can be said about the drumbeat of inappropriate allegations that dogged Bill Clinton for months on end.

But these unfolding scandals are new territory.

If Donna Brazile's new book is to be believed, the Clinton machine was up to its ears in illegal and unethical behavior that should rock the foundations of the Democratic party.

And if his accusers are to be believed, a respected Republican senatorial candidate is guilty of sex crimes that defy imagination.

Nothing short of the balance of power within Congress is at stake.

And yet most eyes are instead on which NFL teams will continue their phony protests or which person of prominence will be the next subject of a National Enquirer probe.

Scandal overload may make for interesting water cooler conversation, but it does little to advance the progress of society.

Michael Jensen is the publisher of the Standard Democrat in Sikeston, Missouri.

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