Bad Day at Times Square

I spent the last two days in New York; today I was in a meeting with a bridge engineer whose office is directly on Times Square. All day, I could look out a third-floor picture window and watch the ABC News offices right across the street. In the morning they were broadcasting Good Morning America live; all day, news headlines went around and around in lights. So I was subjected to the depressing headlines of the day–Rush resigns, Arnold accused, Arnold apologizes, CIA inquiry broadened, soldiers killed, etc.–about ten thousand times apiece. It got so bad that I had to stare at the 100-foot long Jockey For Her billboard just down the street for relief. Actually, I enjoyed Times Square; I hadn’t been there for years, and the extent to which it’s been cleaned up is remarkable.
The news, on the other hand, was grim. Has the left finally gotten Rush after all these years? Maybe. The one-two punch of race controversy and illegal prescriptions may be what it takes. For a long time, the left tried to treat Rush in a condescending, dismissive manner. It never really worked. Now it may.
Rush’s observation that Donovan McNabb has been overrated was, by itself, highly controversial. I have no opinion on whether it is true; my brother who lives in Pennsylvania and is an avid Eagles fan could send us a more informed opinion. But the extension of Rush’s idea–that McNabb was overrated because the news media are eager to promote a black quarterback–was frankly stupid. Not because it isn’t true; there is obviously a double standard in sports reporting. Any regular reader of Sports Illustrated, for example, will tell you that it isn’t necessary to look at the photo to tell whether they are writing about a black or a white athlete. They employ completely different styles in writing about different races. Now, this may be changing; on television, in particular, commentators now feel much freer to criticize black athletes, probably because so many TV personalities, unlike magazine writers, are themselves black. So if Rush had simply said that McNabb was overrated and left it at that, he’d have been fine.
But anyone who follows television sports, as Rush does, knows that any sportscaster who makes an explicitly racial observation–not just critiquing a player’s performance but bringing his race into it–no matter how free from malice he might be, is fired. It’s another sign of our weird culture; if you’re a college student or professor, you can’t write a paragraph without dragging race into it somewhere; but for a sportswriter to do the same thing is per se cause for termination. The odd thing is that Rush must have known this.
As for Arnold, I’ve not yet had time to fully review the allegations (the rotating lights at the ABC studio said he “groped” the women). But I will be very surprised if they make a perceptible difference. After the Oui interview, groping will strike many as a wholesome exercise. And I think most people will view the latest, carefully orchestrated revelations as another example of the Democratic Party slime machine in operation.

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