Reviled Yet Respected
ABC is running a series called Scandal in which the President of the United States murders a Supreme Court justice while his top advisor tries to cover up the election he rigged to put the killer and his scheming wife into the White House.
Showtime has a hot series called Homeland in which a Congressman, who is also a Marine hero and a Muslim terrorist, kills the Vice President of the United States. The daddy of these shows was “24” which depicted the U.S. government as chock-a-block with traitors, intriguers and incompetents, and whose one and only savior, Jack Bauer, was a demento killer and torturer who was the issue of a criminal clan.
Moving across the Atlantic to the large church just over the wall from our former digs on the Via Niccolo Quinto, there are endless articles, books, plays, movies and tv series (check out The Borgias on Showtime) recounting the rogueries of the Roman Church over the last two millenia. Any evil that man has done, from simple simony to rape of the innocent and the waging of war for plunder and torture for pleasure, not to mention the perpetuation of spiritual quackery, has been committed by and for pontiffs and Curia and all that they command.
Compared to these dastardly depictions of our sacred and profane leaders, the faults I find with them in this blog amount to flicking my belly button lint at the Capitol or the Vatican--for which, I guess, I could be charged with littering if the authorities were able to come up with the evidence.
Whether watching the perpetual conspiracy that hatches popes in Rome or the endless chicanery that governs Washington, what intrigues me is that the media giants who entertain us by trashing those institutions as perdurably corrupt deliver exactly the opposite message in their news divisions.
Over on the news side, the most incredible, be they popes or politicos, are afforded endless credibility. No matter how spurious or merely stupid their utterances, they are accepted as mainstream and worthy of respect merely because of their provenance. A perfect example: the thoroughly discredited Newt Gingrich, recently labeled a “prick” by fellow reactionary Roger Ailes of Fox News, continues his lamentable record for being invited on Meet The Press more than anyone else ever.
All of this must be confusing to the faithful-citizen-viewer. Who should they believe? The producers of Scandal who warn us that Washington is the devil’s backroom or those of This Week With George Stephanopoulos who reassure us that, no matter how terrible things appear, our leaders always mean well?