Paris Trumps Dick

The idea that [the vice president] is ‘not an entity within the executive branch’ and thus exempt from a presidential order is both ludicrous and chilling.

SF Chronicle Editorial, June 26, 2007

We interrupt this fair and balanced discussion of vice president Dick Cheney’s astounding claim of immunity from executive orders on the grounds that he is not in fact a member of the executive branch in order to bring you the pending release of naughty girl Paris Hilton from the LA county jail.

The people want to know.

I confess the vice president’s claim is, on its face, the most absurd assertion to come out of the White House since Franklin Pierce consulted tea leaves before signing the Missouri Compromise on the grounds that an alignment of heavenly bodies in the house of Jupiter promised a peaceful resolution of the slavery problem. Nevertheless, the fact that the vice president felt compelled to make such a claim cries out for an investigation into exactly what he is hiding.

I confess I do not understand America’s obsessive-compulsive fascination with celebrity but having seen Ms Hilton’s Whopper commercial, I understand the girl is hot — talentless perhaps, but hot. Nevertheless, when important political discourse is interrupted for twenty minutes of waiting for Paris Hilton to emerge from 23 days in the county jail, something is dramatically wrong.

The question that arises is: Does the media have a responsibility to inform its consumers on the burning issues of the day or must it pander to the lowest common denominator of public obsession at every possible opportunity?

Where were you when OJ drove his white Ford Bronco down an LA highway?

America wants to know.

The vice president has usurped the power of the president, led the nation into catastrophic war, employed the energy industry to dictate energy policy, exerted executive privilege to deny congressional oversight, legitimized torture by executive decree, abolished the foundation of western law (habeas corpus), exposed a CIA operative on a political vendetta, implemented a massive illegal spying operation with an end run around the Justice Department, and reduced the chief executive to an afterthought, yet America needs to know every footstep of Hollywood’s darling naughty girl.

We get it, Mr. Cheney: you can trash the constitution and lead us all through the gates of hell because the people care more about the vagaries of Paris than the treacheries of Washington.

Maybe it is so: We get what we deserve but I do not believe we deserve
what the media deliver us in the name of “Breaking News.”

Do we watch because it is there or is it there because we watch? If we
were not subjected to 24-7 coverage of mining disasters, Hollywood
crimes and misdemeanors, misbehaving sports figures, racist misspeaks,
celebrity breakups, runaway brides, shark attacks or family tragedies,
would we really miss it?

Someone has to begin playing the grownups in this society and
titillation stories, gossip and personal tragedies have no place on
programs that pass for news and informative discourse.

If Dick Cheney does not wish to be a part of the executive branch, let
us oblige him by removing him from office.

As for Paris Hilton, leave the girl alone.

Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City Lights Books). The Chronicles have been published by Dissident Voice and others. Read other articles by Jack, or visit Jack's website.