Some people were up in arms the other day when MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell cut off former Congresswoman Jane Harman to do a Breaking News bulletin about Justin Bieber’s arrest. Sure, it’s ridiculous to spend even one sentence on Bieber — let alone the 18 hours of saturation coverage he then received on CNN, followed by updates right through today — but why is a member of Congress, present or past, considered so important that she can’t be interrupted? There wouldn’t have been a word of complaint if Harman were a public school teacher, or an emergency room doctor, or a farmer, or a blogger. But don’t you dare stop a member of the power elite from speaking (without actually saying anything) on a cable news outlet, even if she is a former member of a group that is held in lower regard than the Atlanta official in charge of snow removal.
Speaking of holding elected officials in the wrong regard, why was the word “thug” used to describe Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman for his admittedly over-the-top reply to Erin Andrew’s post-game question last Sunday, but not to Congressman Michael Grimm’s threat to throw a TV reporter off a balcony for doing his job? Couldn’t have anything to with the fact that Sherman is black and Grimm is white, could it?
As for Sherman, I’m looking forward to seeing how often Peyton Manning will test him by throwing to whichever receiver the cornerback covers during the Super Bowl. In fact, I’m looking forward to the entire extravaganza — both the great football I hope we get out of the Broncos and Seahawks and the over-hyped commercials. In neither instance am I interested in a preview. I don’t want to know in advance what will happen in the game, and I refuse to watch any TV shows or YouTube videos that show some of the spots. I know they’re all available in advance, but I prefer to enjoy the experience as it happens and be surprised. There’s virtually no other television I watch in real time, but Sunday night is a big enough event that I want to consume it as it unravels.
By the way, this weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the United States Of America being brought to its collective knees by the appearance of Janet Jackson’s nipple on national TV for an eighth of a second. Here’s a link to the column I wrote at the time about the ludicrous over-reaction we had to endure for weeks on end, and here’s a piece by Marin Coogan that re-tells the whole story with an added perspective from a decade later.