While ABC’s political drama “Scandal” often portrays the news media ways far detached from reality, the latest episode is so off the mark you’d think the script was written by ex-FNC Contributor Dick Morris.
In a subplot, a North Carolina congressman running for governor has been celibate and single for 10 years. Naturally, he’s rumored to be gay and it’s holding back his favorability rating. The show’s main character Olivia Pope cooks up a scheme to pair the congressman up with a fake wife. This is then leaked to a D.C. gossip rag which plans on publishing the piece immediately.
One of Pope’s associates convinces the tabloid to kill this oh-so-rich story in exchange for even juicier content: photos from the fake wedding and any other future details about the couple. That’s it.
This scenario would never happen at any publication. (Outside of… the Washington Examiner‘s Yeas and Nays, which would likely kill the story in exchange for a few inside details about Georgetown Cupcakes.)
In a separate storyline, terrorists in the fictional Middle Eastern country Kashfar are holding eight Americans hostage. The terrorists release a video , which the U.S. news media air in its entirety that shows a hostages having his head cut off.
No news outlet would intentionally air the live death of a man. (We say “intentionally” because there was that one time back in September that Fox News accidentally showed a man committing suicide as it happened live).
But there was one shot of reality. After the hostage is killed, Fitz Grant, the president, orders drone strikes on Kashfar. The press collectively praises Grant. In a matter of 24 hours, however, every major TV news outlet is covering the woes of one hostage’s mother who is hysterically sobbing, worried that the drone strikes will provoke the terrorists to kill the other hostages.
That actually would happen.
You almost had to wear sunglasses to read the glowing coverage of former President George W. Bush immediately after 9/11. But then came the widows who demanded a full investigation of any prior knowledge the Bush administration may have had. Or, two days after President Obama announced that he had ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden, CNN asked: “The killing of bin Laden: Was it legal?”
In this case, Scandal got it right. Hey, even Morris has his moments.