To hear the news media tell it, Barack Obama's health-care speech to Congress last night was all about re-establishing his domestic priorities. But locally the media's own priorities were far from covering such boring stuff as public options and health-insurance exchanges. Instead, as soon as Channel 7 ABC had finished airing the Republican response to the president's speech, it promised to return to coverage of Obama's remarks – after reporting on what apparently were more important matters.
“The other big story,” we were told, was L'affaire Duvall, a story broken by the O.C. Weekly's R. Scott Moxley. This was the tale of yet another Boer Republican whose family values front was torn apart by a sex scandal. In this case Channel 7 dug deep – into Orange County assemblyman Mike Duvall's tape-recorded comments about his extramarital trysts with two women (particularly about spanking a Sempra Energy lobbyist) and into citizen-on-the-street comments from people who happened to be passing Duvall's Brea office Wednesday.
Most passerby opinions expressed sympathy for Duvall and his family because,
you know, this kind of thing is hard on everyone and he was “considered
a great guy.” No thought was given, either by Duvall's interviewed
constituents or Channel 7, about how many pro-energy industry votes may have been traded for each spanking session. Channel 7 did not bother looking into
Duvall's voting record as vice chairman of the assembly's Utilities and Commerce Committee to see how the masochistic lobbyist may have effected
it and helped skew the state's energy policy.
Obama's speech did not even appear after all the Duvall hand-wringing. The second story receiving extensive Channel 7
coverage (as it did elsewhere) was the severed hand found on a dirt road near Lake Los
Angeles. You would have thought, by the level of local media frenzy,
that the equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls had been discovered in the
High Desert – or at least the identity of the Station Fire arsonist.
Poor Obama. No wonder he can't get his message across.