Kathryn Lopez

Perhaps somewhere a CNN producer regrets he does not make programming decisions at "Entertainment Tonight." Mary Hart could do a fascinating interview with this enigmatic Iranian celebrity and ask him what he thinks of the People cover story about Clay Aiken's sexuality. Perhaps that cute, adorable Mahmoud, the one who wants to eliminate Jews, can tell us Aiken would turn straight if he moved to Iran. You'll recall when Columbia University hosted a discussion with this tyrant, he was asked why homosexuals are executed in his country. Rather than answer the question, he denied the existence of any gay people in his homeland. "In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it." (He only recently stated that there might be "a few" homosexuals in his country.)

It's as if, instead of dealing with awful things, shining a light on them and doing what we can to combat and right wrongs, we yearn to abandon all attempts at seriousness. As we all debated whether or not there should be a debate over the first scheduled presidential debate, how many news outlets focused on the fact that Ahmadinejad blamed the whole thing on the Jews? They are a people with a "deceitful, complex and furtive manner" who have a hold on Western leaders, he said, in front of diplomats from 190 U.N. member states. It was an outrage -- an outrage of which King seemed to have no clue. An outrage most of us have yet to fathom. An outrage much of the media didn't cover.

Incest should not be a laughing matter. Ahmadinejad should not be wined and dined in the Big Apple, and his hateful views -- reminiscent of the horrifying Protocol of the Elders of Zion "blood libel" against Jews -- are not opportunities for discussion.

We must stop and consider this moment. And we must always notice who's taking things seriously and who's whistling past the graveyard. Americans believe in common decency and constant vigilance. If our leaders don't -- whether they be media moguls who book cartoonish interviews and write outlandish things, or politicians who would have gotten in line to sit down right after Larry -- we must take notes and insist on new ones.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.