Friday, March 16, 2012

What a waste!

It’s times like this that I wonder about the intelligence quotient of the people I work against as a reporter-type person – specifically because of all the energy expounded to provide “coverage” of the incarceration of 40892-424.
40892-424: His last lunch?

Because as far as the federal government is now concerned, the man once known as Rod Blagojevich is now just a number.

THURSDAY WAS THE day he reported to prison, and I was specifically avoiding watching any form of television or looking at any Internet site during mid-day (inmate 40892-424 had until noon, local time, to report to a prison in suburban Denver).

Had he not done so, he could have been considered as an escaped criminal. A manhunt could have been established for the hairy one. While I’m sure that image would appease some of the ideologues who derive the most perverse pleasure from Blagojevich-gone-bad stories these days, it bothers me.

Mainly because I really don’t see the point! It is trivia run amok, and I got my fill reading it after it happened. Reading it in real time wouldn't have made it any more significant.

Particularly at a time when many news organizations are complaining that they have fewer and fewer financial resources to pay the expenses of putting together a comprehensive news report, they are spending limited dollars on this.

FOR THE RECORD, at the moment 40892-424 went to prison, I was preparing to listen to Gov. Pat Quinn’s director of Management and Budget give a presentation about state finances and how the chances of fixing them are improved these days by the very fact that state officials are talking to each other – unlike the days when the governor was so anxious to one-up Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, that it “compounded the crisis” that Illinois would have faced anyway because of national economic struggles.

So I couldn’t fully escape him, even though I wanted to after having a gut reaction Wednesday night when I saw a late news report on WBBM-TV and realized that reporter Dana Kozlov was already in Denver to be on hand for “the moment” when Blagojevich became 40892-424.

I don’t know if my feeling is more sympathy for Kozlov to have to expound so much energy on reporting this minutia, or contempt and disgust for the assignment editor who approved her travel expenses for this reporting trip.

And it’s not like she’s the only one who made it.

IT SEEMS LIKE just about every Chicago reporter-type person EXCEPT for me was in Colorado (a city we haven’t cared much about since the 2008 date when Barack Obama gave his Democratic Convention speech there amidst the faux-Greek columns).

And no, this isn’t my way of saying I wanted to go to Denver. I’m thankful I wasn’t there. In fact, I wish I were writing about any topic other than Illinois’ former governor.

Except that I can’t help but notice the amount of time and effort expended by so many people to report the day’s activities – which really were nothing but routine for any new inmate reporting to a facility controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

We learned that Blagojevich, when being driven to the prison, stopped at a place called Freddy’s Steakburgers. I’m sure whoever reports what it was 40892-424 had to eat will claim that story as a significant scoop and a highlight of their career.

EVEN THOUGH I think I speak for many in saying, I could care less. It doesn’t matter.

There were even those people who felt compelled to use Twitter accounts to tell us of the exact moment at which 40892-424 walked through the main gate of the prison in Englewood, Colo.

One even went so far as to tell us of the upcoming “strip search” that 40892-424 was to be subjected to in upcoming hours. As though any of us really wants to fathom the thought of 40892-424 in the nude. If, by chance, you do want to think about that (and your name is not Patti Blagojevich), you are in need of serious psychiatric help.

In short, there was such a sense of overkill to what happened on Thursday – made worse by the fact that none of the information tidbits that were gathered gave us any better understanding of the whole Blagojevich saga.

THEY MAY EVEN add confusion over trivia, since I read one item saying 40892-424 had blue cheese on his burger while another item said he didn’t eat anything. So which is it?!?

Even his appearance outside his Ravenswood Manor neighborhood home was of some interest because we saw the fact that 40892-424 is determined to think of himself as the ultimate victim who did nothing wrong.

What was the point of Thursday? Not a one – except for those Denver-area hotels that managed to fill rooms Wednesday night-into-Thursday with reporter-types who wanted to see 40892-424 go to prison, and the airlines that sold them tickets so they could come back home to Chicago.

That would be one flight I wouldn’t mind seeing diverted to, say, Dallas. Then again, has Texas ever been so bad that they deserve such a trauma?


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