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December 27, 2006



Now, IMO, we have had enough of Ford and the pageantry! I think the media have made all they can of this, as a way to take attention off what really matters: Iraq, Darfur, continuing military buildup, and a complete lack of leadership from the so-called President and his pals.


Yeah, A.J., there are wonderfully pungent examples of how the MSM has let us down, but not covering Gerald Ford's death sufficiently would not be in my top 1000 from the last few years. Honestly, do you think his passing really merits any detailed discussion? Wall-to-wall coverage of celebrity deaths, especially of ones whose importance was a long while ago, is such a cheap substitute for real news. I am bracing myself for a month of stories when Bob Dylan croaks -- they are all in the can and ready to go.

AJ Schnack

Well, I guess I'm the only one here who loves America.

Seriously, though, it's not that I didn't think that we'd get plenty of coverage this week of the funeral and I'm gettting pretty tired of how every single talking head is calling the man "the healer" and bloviating on how he "brought the nation together". But I still think that the passing of a former president merits cutting into regular programming and pausing to reflect for a moment. Like it or not, presidents (for good and for ill) represent moments in our collective history and I'd rather our networks take the time to recognize that.

That said, has it always been that presidents have gotten week-long state funerals? I think I heard that Ford was only the 7th (or something like that) president to lie in state in the rotunda. So this pageantry is new, isn't it? Does that mean that everyone is gonna get a week from now on?


Those kind of bromides you cite are part and parcel of the party-line that sweeps through our supposedly free-thinking press. It would be totally uncool for instance to bring up Ford green-lighting the massacre of 100,000-200,000 East Timorese in 1975. That doesn't fit in with the "Ford brought the country together after our democratic crisis" mantra. So if Ford's death would actually result in something new emerging, that would be one thing. But it's mostly an excuse for lazy TV stations and newspapers to fill up time and space. The notion that the death of a president who served for two years without much distinction calls for a "national day of mourning" on Tuesday seems to be the height of absurdity. Yes, his family and friends are mourning, but at what point in the last 30 years has anyone outside that inner circle talked nostalgically about Ford and his role as president? On Tuesday, rather than a day of mourning, how about we seriously consider whether the normal production of real news merits so many breathless 24-hour news channels and so many other outlets starved for news all the time. At the risk of giving more evidence that I don't love America, I think we can take a cue from the French, who mostly read weekly news magazines at the expense of daily news.

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