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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Steve Johnson Briefly Loses His Agile Mind

My friend (really!) and former colleague Steve Johnson has been admirably and correctly incensed about Freygate for the past couple weeks, howling at the moon about the centrality of a correspondence between utterances and the actual, verifiable circumstances to which those utterances refer. Truth, etc.

Sadly, his pursuit of forthrightness and actuality in discourse seems in this instance to have corresponded, Ahab-like, with a descent into madness. Because, if I read him correctly, it is his judgment that Chicago's ABC affiliate erred grievously in choosing to break into this morning's live broadcast of the Oprah Winfrey show, an entertainment chat show on which Mr. Frey happened to appear today for his punishment from Oprah, for news coverage of a press conference with President Bush.

In other words, the public interest is better served, Steve argues, by airing live footage of Oprah yelling at some tool who wrote some book than by airing live footage of some tool who runs the goddamned country.

Priorities, Steve. The thoughts of the President of the United States, on a morning when Hamas won the elections in Palestine, and at a time when pressing questions about domestic spying need answers, and just days after a Osama bin Laden sent another postcard from Waziristan, are more important than Oprah Winfrey's Clintonian efforts to maneuver into the slipstream of anti-Frey public sentiment.

Steve has put in a call to WLS, the Chicago ABC affiliate, to ask why they cut away from such a riveting live TV event to something so flimsy and pointless as a presidential press conference. I just wish I could have seen the looks on their faces.