Today, on ABCâ€™s â€œThis Week,â€ Christiana Amanpour interviewed retiring U.S. Congressman Barney Frank. Frank used a Wizard of Oz analogy to compare Mitt Romney to the Tin Man, Rick Perry to the Scarecrow, and Newt Gingrich to the Wizard himself. It was good theater, however ironic.
Isnâ€™t Frank a key player in perpetrating the illusion of â€œsmoke and mirrorsâ€ held up before the American public to obscure the den of corruption and cronyism collectively known as Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. His analogy and his dismissive comments about his own role in the mortgage bubble that led to a collapse of the housing market (and the economy) went unchallenged.
Opposite This Week was NBCâ€™s Face the Nation with David Gregory.Â Gregory used nearly half his show to interview David Axelrod, former White House Chief of Staff and current head of the Obama Re-election Team and Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. There were the usual superficial questions and answers. It was frustrating, to put it mildly, to watch Gregoryâ€™s unbalanced approach to his guests. In short, he was easy on Axelrod and hard on Priebus. So much for journalistic neutrality or the integrity of the Fourth Estate.
I have a point.
It isnâ€™t just politics thatâ€™s smoke and mirrors. Itâ€™s our entire culture. We have moved so far from putting our thoughts, time and energies on what really matters that we have made illusion and distraction the norm. Nowhere is this more obvious, or more egregiously practiced, than by the media. We are daily fed a soup of dirt floating in water and told its minestrone. Then, without questioning what our own perceptions tell us, we consume the dirt and wonder why we feel empty and our bellies ache.
There was another segment on This Week, just at the end of the show. It was an interview with Angelina Jolie. Jolie has just written and directed In the Land of Blood and HoneyÂ¸ a docudrama based upon the ethnic cleansing and torture that permeated the Bosnian war and the worldâ€™s failure to respond timely or adequately. Jolie made the film to show how war dehumanizes us and distances us from one another.
As between the segments with Frank, Axelrod, and Jolie there was no contest. The story that deserved the most time, and our undivided attention, was Jolieâ€™s. There was no deception or manipulation in it and it served a higher purpose. Perhaps thatâ€™s what got it the shortest airtime.
A long as we keep eating the dirty soup, they’ll keep serving it.