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Stepping All Over the Lede

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There are a couple of reasons for a news show to choose to lead a broadcast with one story over another. It could be that the anchor and their producers think the story merits the prominence. Or they may think that the audience expects it.

Whatever their reason, Lester Holt and his producers made a poor call last week when reporting the story of Rump’s latest affront to our democracy. Incredibly, their lead story was about some idiot driving an SUV through a mall somewhere; Forever 21 was spared, thank God! Then there was a terribly important bus crash, followed by a police chase in Louisiana, and then Antonio Brown’s dismissal from the Patriots. (Note: The Patriots are a football team in Boston.)

After all this twaddle, NBC Nightly News finally got around to the most important news of the month, if not the year: the president flouted the law, not to mention common sense (by which I mean sense common to a gnat) by doing something — which had only come to light as this broadcast was preparing to air — that caused a whistleblower to report the action to a Trump-appointed superior, who deemed the action alarming enough to alert Congress.

We now know that Rump was pressuring the president of Ukraine to get dirt on Hunter Biden, the son of the Democratic front runner in the 2020 election, Joe Biden, and on Biden himself.

My fingers have rarely been anywhere near the pulsebeat of this increasingly inexplicable nation. But Rump’s breach of statecraft (read: the law) strikes me as infinitely more important than a stupid stunt drive through a mall in which a few of those pointless and ugly mall kiosks were damaged but no human beings suffered so much as a scratch.

By pure coincidence, I’m sure, Ukraine has been waiting for $390 million in military funding from the US. Rump would never dangle the promise of foreign aid to pressure a foreign government to find dirt about a political rival. No! Never!

Also of no consequence is the fact that Ukraine is holding its ground against Russia (with the exception of the Crimea, which Russia invaded and annexed in 2014), which of course is run gangster-style by Rump’s sandbox pal, Vladimir Putin.

The whole thing stinks. And by minimizing its importance, NBC Nightly News abnegated its responsibility to its viewers.

In an appalling story in Sunday’s New York Times, we learned that the gay French writer Renaud Camus has turned from entertaining chronicler of his own sexual exploits to white nationalist, French-style. Camus is the author of the purportedly nonfiction “Tricks,” which, when it was published in the early 1980s, earned the imprimatur of the preeminent cultural theorist of the time, Roland Barthes, who wrote its preface.

“Tricks” is provocatively raunchy. Camus screws and sucks his way through Paris, and readers are treated to it in microscopic detail. Thanks to the gravitas afforded by Barthes’s preface, I was able to put the book prominently on my list of literature up for discussion in my doctoral qualifiers. I remember a particularly entertaining section in which an American trick cannot bring himself to pronounce the author’s first name correctly and resorts to calling him “Wono,” much to Camus’ amusement.

Oh, how times have changed. Camus is no longer a literary sexual outlaw. He’s become a fascist. His most famous book is no longer “Tricks” but rather “You Will Not Replace Us!” (“Le Grand Remplaceme­nt,” en français), a call to arms aimed at white French men and women against the onslaught of darker races, people Camus blames for supposedly destroying French culture and society.

When colonialism comes home to roost, it ain’t pretty.

I’m ashamed to have once championed Wono. One imagines Roland Barthes is spinning in his grave. (Barthes died an ignominious death in 1980; he was run over by a laundry truck.)

Press Clippings: We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Gay City News’ own Andy Humm, who provided by far the most comprehensive as well as compassionate coverage of the Abel Cedeno trial and sentencing. Without ever losing sight of the severity and violence of Cedeno’s actions (Cedeno knifed two classmates, one to death, after being consistently bullied for years at school), Humm is pretty much the only journalist to demonstrate any sympathy whatsoever for the 19-year-old Cedeno, who looks no older than 15 and was not granted youthful offender status and therefore received a sentence of 14 years in prison.

I wish the circumstances were different, but the Cedeno story brought out the best in Andy Humm. Cheers, Andy!

“Just to be clear: LGBTQ media plays an increasingly important role, especially at a time like this. I had a grumpy moment where I was thinking about some of the coverage that I do get frustrated with that seems to tell people how to be gay. And that’s, to be fair, happening in a lot of different sources and places online and in others, and it’s one reason why, as a candidate, it’s healthy just not to read too many clips about yourself to begin with. But I don’t want to take away from the very good work that’s being done in the queer media right now.”

That’s Pete Buttigieg attempting to explain his nasty (to use a Rump word) coverage by the LGBTQ media. Earlier, Buttigieg had said he could not “even read the LGBT media anymore, because it’s all, ‘he’s too gay,’ ‘not gay enough,’ ‘wrong kind of gay.’”

I know what Buttigieg means, though I see it more on Facebook and Twitter than I do in gay media — in fact, I will will forgive him for not noticing that the most talked-about pieces raising questions about his gay cred did not appear in LGBTQ media. It must be frustrating to be under the particular microscope he not finds himself, although surely he knew his every pore would be overexamined when he announced his candidacy.

I for one am waiting for the first shirtless pics to appear. Oh, okay. Truth be told, I wanna fuck ‘im.

Follow @EdSikov on Twitter and Facebook.

Posted 11:55 am, September 26, 2019
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