The Jerry Spinger elec­tion

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Tom Pur­cell Colum­nist Tom Pur­cell is syn­di­cated by Ca­gle Car­toons.

“I can’t take it any­more. This stupid pres­i­den­tial elec­tion has turned into a lousy Jerry Springer show.”

“Ah, yes, you speak of a se­ries of sala­cious sto­ries about Don­ald Trump, as well as Hil­lary and Bill Clin­ton. Story af­ter story is be­ing pub­lished. It’s cer­tainly get­ting ugly out there.”

“You got that right. First we hear a record­ing of a boor­ish Trump talk­ing about his weak­ness for beau­ti­ful women, and all of a sud­den, 11 women come out of the wood­work ac­cus­ing him of grop­ing them. If there is one word I hope to never hear again in a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, ‘grop­ing’ is it.”

“I couldn’t agree more. It is also dis­heart­en­ing that so many sto­ries about Bill Clin­ton’s pec­ca­dil­loes keep mak­ing the news.”

“I thought I was burned out on Bill Clin­ton’s al­leged ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties when he left the White House in Jan­uary 2001. Now that Hil­lary is run­ning for pres­i­dent, var­i­ous news out­lets keep re­port­ing his more re­cent al­leged ac­tiv­i­ties.”

“What you say is true. Var­i­ous gossip rags and other ‘le­git­i­mate’ news out­lets are re­port­ing that other women are com­ing for­ward, ac­cus­ing Bill of un­to­ward be­hav­ior or worse. One young man has come for­ward, claim­ing that Bill im­preg­nated his mother, a lady of the night, and that he is Bill’s son.” “Stop. Please. We have so much at stake in this coun­try. Our debt will soon pass $20 tril­lion. En­ti­tle­ment spend­ing is about to ex­plode. Eco­nomic growth has been hor­ri­ble. Oba­macare has driven in­surance pre­mi­ums through the roof for mil­lions of mid­dle­class Amer­i­cans and is likely to col­lapse un­der its own weight. If we don’t ad­dress these is­sues, a world of hurt awaits us. Yet our fo­cus is in the gut­ter?”

“Then you surely won’t want to hear the lat­est gossip-rag re­port on Hil­lary. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional En­quirer, Hil­lary had a bag­man set up trysts be­tween her and ...”

“Please stop! Look, one of the great tragedies of our time is that there is so lit­tle dis­tinc­tion be­tween the gossip rags and the le­git­i­mate news out­lets. It’s hard to know whose re­port­ing to trust any­more.”

“Your words evoke great sad­ness in me — sad­ness for our coun­try. As you say, with all the chal­lenges our coun­try faces, why do we let the politi­cians and the press get us lath­ered up about var­i­ous al­le­ga­tions, when so many real is­sues and chal­lenges are at stake?”

“A bet­ter ques­tion is why do we keep fall­ing for it? All of this ‘gotcha’ jour­nal­ism is killing us.”

“For­mer Demo­crat pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Gary Hart agrees with your as­sess­ment. In 1984, ev­ery­one ex­pected him to be­come the Demo­crat nom­i­nee, but his hopes were dashed when The Mi­ami Her­ald re­ported his ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair.”

“I re­mem­ber that story. It was a turn­ing point in politi­cal re­port­ing in Amer­ica.”

“Well, Hart says that as the me­dia have be­come more in­tru­sive in peo­ple’s pri­vate lives, ‘an aw­ful lot of peo­ple of qual­ity choose not to seek pub­lic of­fice. And that is re­flected in the de­cline in the cal­iber and qual­ity of peo­ple in pub­lic ser­vice.’”

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