Hot Air: Dozing & Nosing


The Trumps’ little theatrical prop kid whom they invited to the State of the Union address for the sole reason he shares their surname and has been “bullied” at school for it fell asleep during the Dear Leader’s blathering last night.

Several reactions:

  1. Of course their trophy invitee shared their name — everything they think and care about has to do with, well…, them.
  2. Guaranteed, as soon as President Gag saw the footage of the kid sawing wood he blurted out something like, “That little bastard!”
  3. Now the kid can go back to school and get bullied by both Democrats and Republicans.

Remember, when there’s a problem, only Trump can fix it.

A Professional Digger

Mike Leonard has been plying the journalism trade since the late 1970s. He spent a month shy of 35 years at the Herald-Times (it was called the Herald-Telephone when he first started working there). He went on to edit and write for Bloom mag for a couple of years and has been teaching various journalism classes at Indiana University since 1987.

His is a dying breed. He was the HT‘s general columnist for a couple of decades. When he started that gig, following in the footsteps of Greg Dawson, newspaper columnists were the rock stars of their field. Titans like Jimmy Breslin and Mike Royko were at the top of their game back then, known far and wide and read in hundreds of papers each via syndication deals.

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A general columnist’s job was to pick out anything happening in the world, anything that struck her/his fancy, and riff on it. It was the plum job in any newsroom. Now, with nine tenths of the population of the planet either blogging or pontificating on social media, the newspaper general columnist has become something quaint, something as immediate and contemporary today as an etiquette columnist.

Everybody’s got an opinion and everybody needs to share it. It might seem like a fine thing that the internet gives everybody an opportunity to be heard. It ain’t.

See, the vast majority of people can’t spell, can’t put together cogent sentences (much less whole paragraphs or essay-length arguments), and can’t tell the diff. between facts and phonus balonus. When Breslin or Royko or Leonard made a point in print, whether you agreed with it or not, you knew it was well-reasoned and based on verifiable sources. There were standards, even for opinionating. On rare occasions, even straight news reporters and anchors would proffer a tentative opinion, such as the time Walter Cronkite, America’s paterfamilias, told us Vietnam was a bust:

When Lyndon Johnson, up for reelection that year, saw that broadcast back in February, 1968 he knew his chances were nil. Cronkite wasn’t some blowhard like Sean Hannity or even some quasi-stand-up comic like Bill Maher. He was a reporter, a journalist, someone who could be counted on to get the facts and interpret them for us.

Leonard was our town’s Cronkite, our Royko. He joins me on this week’s edition of Big Talk, tomorrow, Thursday, February 7, 5:30pm, on WFHB, 91.3FM.


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