You can send a message to the mainstream media about the importance of rewarding whats right, instead of whats wrong. Its really easy. Tomorrow night, Monday at 8 p.m. (ET), dont click your television remote to the Cable News Network.
Thats when the new CNN show Parker Spitzer debuts. The program boasts co-hosts Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace as governor of New York back in 2008, and Pulitzer-prize-winning columnist Kathleen Parker. You may know Parker as the Washington Posts idea of a conservative, and presumably shell also play one on TV.
How will the new show be different? Spitzer told Larry King, We want to be thoughtful. . . . We will have a smart conversation.
So, with such shockingly innovative program and promise, how can I possibly ask you to miss it?
Its not personal. Its not even political.
Its not that Ive never liked Spitzer. Or that I wasnt fond of him as a headline-chasing prosecutor. Or that I dont like his policy vision.
Its all about my lack of admiration for his extra-curricular activities, which directly led to his resignation as New Yorks governor.
No one needs a rehash of those events, Parker wrote in her column, though theres plenty available for schadenfreude addicts.
Parker went on to explain: Im not defending Spitzer or condoning his behavior. Ultimately, I decided that his obvious intelligence, insights and potential contributions outweighed his other record. As far as Im concerned, especially given that he has resigned from public office, the flaws that brought Spitzer down are between him and his family. Like most Americans, I believe in redemption.
Yes, say what you will about Mr. Spitzer, he did offer both his family and the public a straightforward apology. Thats so rare in our troubled world as to be awfully commendable. I, for one, forgive him. (But thats easy for me to say — Im not married to him.)
Im not so forgiving of CNN. The fact that Spitzer may be deserving of our prayers or good wishes on getting his life back together doesnt mean that his contrition merits a big sack of money and a primetime stab at stardom. Spitzer and CNN are, in fact, trading on his scandal.
And thats why it is important that this gambit not succeed.
Likewise, Im not so quick to let Parker off the hook. She writes that she doesnt condone his behavior. Great. But by arguing that Spitzers intelligence . . . outweighed his other record and by teaming up with his celebrity to co-host a television show, she performs all the condoning Merriam-Websters lexicographers could hope to define.
A little over two years ago, Spitzer resigned as New Yorks governor after it was discovered that he had an illicit relationship with a prostitute. As Client No. 9 he acted, he confessed at the time, in a way that violates my obligation to my family, that violates my — or any — sense of right and wrong.
So let us wish Spitzer well . . . in some other job. Not as a television personality investing his infamy to gain increased celebrity.
Watching Parker Spitzer would send a bad message, the too-common message that unethical behavior deserves a handsome reward.
Would I feel the same way were Spitzer a conservative? You betcha. But dont hold your breath: CNN will not likely make equal time for some conservative oath-breaker and lech.
In the networks defense, there are more disgraced politicians than available time slots. Even with CNNs ratings.
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