The so-called national “debates” this week on the Manhattan mosque and Obama’s religion have almost accomplished the impossible: getting me to agree about something with Sarah Palin. At least on this occasion, I think the cable and network news organizations live up to her snarky appellation of “lamestream media.”
It’s not surprising that commentators at Fox News (which may be “lame” but is not “mainstream” in any sense of the word), have fallen on these non-stories like crows on a carcass. It goes right along with their consistent efforts to discredit the president by any means possible, as well as to distract viewers from the fact that the party of choice for most of them has had one simple message for the past two years: “No, no, no!”
With Congress and Wall Street on vacation, national news of substance can be a little thin in August. But journalists of integrity should be asking themselves: Should we really chase after any little piece of gossip anyone throws out there, regardless of its merit?
Anyone who followed the 2008 elections should remember that there was some controversy at the time over the pastor of Obama’s Christian church—a congregation he had belonged to for many years. Anyone who bothered to read his books should know that his only religious affiliation has been mainstream American Protestantism.
As for the Mosque in Manhattan, as far as I’m concerned, if you don’t live and work in that particular area of New York City, you don’t have a say. If Idaho potato farmers or bankers from North Dakota want to protest a mosque—or a cathedral or, for that matter, a pet store—in their neighborhood, I say more power to ‘em. But people who have absolutely no connection to New York City—and who don’t understand the differences in demographics between major metropolitan areas and the American heartland—should have the wisdom to withhold judgment about an issue that’s none of their business.
In case anyone hasn’t noticed, there are plenty of serious issues to discuss and a great deal riding on the upcoming midterm elections. Let’s get on with talking about some of the things that really matter.