Sunday, June 25, 2000

No survivors

Reality TV

        It's a good thing for me that I'm not stuck on an island with a bunch of other journalists in some nightmare version of TV's Survivor.

        I'd be voted off the beach in a Borneo second.

        Brandee from the Living Arts Section would say, “Eeeeuw, he smokes cigars and he doesn't like the NEA.”

        Biff from the Sports Section would gripe, “The jerk told me to quit playing Frisbee and dig a latrine. As if. What's a latrine?”

        Everyone else in the thatched-roof newsroom would roll their eyes. “Too opinionated,” they'd say, which is media jargon which means “right-wing lunatic.” (See “heretic” and “Neanderthal.”)

        According to statistics I have gathered, about 90 percent of journalists voted twice for Bill Clinton and hope they can again. They want mandatory abortion, gay rights and Hillary, and would like to outlaw capital punishment, guns and Republicans (unless they can execute Republicans with their own guns).

        By my reckoning, 99 percent agree that the kid who wound up with his head on a sharp stick in Lord of the Flies probably had it coming because he voted for Reagan (see “vast right-wing conspiracy.”)

Life is a beach
        There is another island called “Reality,” where conservatives are not as scarce as ex-Navy Seals named Rudy. But most journalists think Reality is overrun by ignorant aborigines who look like offspring of Jesse Helms and Dr. Laura. So every blemish on Republicans is magnified to the size of a moon crater, while Democrats get airbrushed.

        For weeks, mediacrats have been beating the frijoles out of George W. Bush for saying that killers who are sentenced to death should actually be executed. But we hear nothing about Al Gore trying to evict a poor family with disabled kids from a dump he rents in Tennessee.

        We heard plenty about Mr. Bush's problem with Catholics when he visited Bob Jones University — but nothing about the Catholic bishop in Scranton, Pa., who told Mr. Gore to get lost because he's so pro-abortion.

News vs. reality
        TV news is not “reality TV.” We'd get a more accurate report if we put the candidates on an island with ordinary people. After a week, they could choose a loser to sacrifice:

        Edna the Tupperware trucker from Phoenix: “That Gore guy is creepy. He talks like a kindergarten teacher on Quaaludes. He bragged that he invented survival, but he can't even open his Swiss Army knife.”

        Veronica the cosmetologist from Fort Wayne: “Whatsup with George? I can't understand a word he says. If compassionate conservatism can't make me a cheeseburger, forget it.”

        Jason the personal trainer from Fresno: “Man, I am sick of Al calling every idea I come up with a "risky scheme.' And does he ever take off those goofy cowboy boots?”

        Richard the Harvard professor of indigenous studies: “I heard Al making fun of George for getting C's at Yale. But then George showed me a letter from Al's classmate that said, "Mr. Vice President, you and I both know what you are hiding by refusing to release your Vanderbilt Law School transcript.' Let's see Al's grades.”

        Jason: “If Gore says "risky scheme' one more time I'm gonna throw his cowboy boots in the latrine.”

        Edna: “Do it.”

        Veronica: “Who cares about soft money and targeted tax cuts? I want a cheeseburger.”

        Richard: “So who do we throw off the island?”

        Everyone: “The opinionated bonehead who brought Gore and Bush.”

        Me: “Rats.”

        Peter Bronson is editorial page editor of The Enquirer. If you have questions or comments, call 768-8301, or write to 312 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.