Mike Gallagher

I consider myself a solid, conservative Republican.

Like many fellow Republicans, I was dismayed and disappointed with the Democrats' big showing in the midterm elections.

I'm worried about the future of the country with people like Nancy Pelosi in leadership positions in Washington.

But there is simply no excuse for politics when a man is fighting for his life.

Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota, suffered some sort of catastrophic medical condition while holding a telephone conference call with reporters this week. The event led to some sort of surgery that, as of this writing, leaves Sen. Johnson in critical condition.

When an apparently otherwise healthy 60-year-old man undergoes such a medical crisis, the shock and anguish for his family and friends is undoubtedly overwhelming. When the situation involves a sitting U.S. senator, it certainly becomes a major news event.

But to broadcast the tape of his voice that was being recorded as he was stricken and to openly speculate about whether or not South Dakota's Republican governor is apt to appoint a Republican replacement should the senator die is appalling.

I guess this is what people mean when they talk about the absence of kindness, compassion, or even human decency, in American culture.

This is one of those rare occasions where mainstream media are as crude about a Democrat as they normally would be if it involved a Republican.

First off, shame on the reporter or news agency that released the audiotape of Johnson's words as he was first experiencing his medical crisis.

Does anyone really believe that hearing a man who is perhaps having a stroke or aneurysm while trying to talk to reporters on the phone is really newsworthy?

It reminds me of the awful airing of the video of National League baseball umpire John McSherry's fatal collapse at Riverfront Stadium years ago.

These men aren't just public figures. They're fathers, husbands, brothers, sons or close friends of numerous people. And to exploit their horrific health nightmares for the sake of ratings is a really ugly thing to do.

Mike Gallagher is a national syndicated talk radio host and a contributing editor for Townhall.com. His Web site is http://www.mikeonline.com

When that audiotape of Sen. Johnson was made available to news outlets all over the country, the radio and television stations and networks could have chosen not to air it. Sadly, too many failed to make that decent choice.

Mike Gallagher

Mike Gallagher is a nationally syndicated radio host, Fox News Channel contributor and guest host and author of 50 Things Liberals Love to Hate.