Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ah-ha Senator Craig...we finally got you

Yet again, another Republican Senator has been caught up in a scandal that is sure to cost him his political career, except this time, the media seemed to get it all wrong...or at least well past deadline.

Senator Craig, a Republican from Idaho, plead guilty to lewd acts in a public restroom in a Minneapolis airport earlier this month. The events actually took place in the summer.

What's ironic about all of this is how the media seemed to ignore, or completely miss the police reports, that were most likely filed shortly after the Senator's Aug. 6, plea. For shame political journalists. In our world of 24/7 news, it's surprising that something this important slipped under the media's panoptic gaze. It's almost as if the newspapers in Minnesota and Idaho were deliberately trying to avoid the scandal.

Sure there are probably some excuses as the why this story took nearly three weeks to break. Every newspapers/tv news station has its own demands that it has to meet on a regular basis, but when a story as influential and consequential as this gets no coverage, it's a failure of our media system.

Earlier today, in my New Media and a Democratic Society course, we all argued that a free press and freedom of expression are two crucial elements of a successful democracy, but what happens when that free press abandons its watchdog role and fails the citizens it is sworn to protect and inform? It seems to me there something is amiss in the media world of 2007 -- a scary thought when there's an election looming in the near future.

But perhaps there's something greater at hand. Maybe the local papers are owned by conservative corporations who demanded that they keep the story quiet. Or perhaps Senator Craig simply lucked out until Monday. Who knows? Either way, it's a travesty and I hope that the nation's media can fix it's dilemma...American citizens depend on it.

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