One of the things I did in the undisclosed location was mainline media. Hotel life is lonely, and you find yourself leaving the TV on, if only for the comfort of hearing another human voice. I hardly ever watch cable news, so I took the opportunity to sample all that was available — MSNBC, CNN, Fox. And all I can say is: I fear for my country, if people who watch this stuff consider themselves well-informed.
But that’s nothing compared to commercial talk radio, where lies, misconceptions and wrong-os fly by at the speed of sound, uncorrected. Yesterday I set the button on scan and picked up a show somewhere on the AM dial. Turned out it was O’Reilly’s, with a guest host, someone named Napolitano. The topic was whether John Kerry is a good enough Catholic to receive communion, although the host and caller were on a side road, discussing his first marriage.
“The church rarely, rarely grants annulments, and never grants contested annulments, and the first Mrs. Kerry contested this annulment,” the host said. “So we have to ask, is his marriage to Theresa Heinz illicit in the eyes of the church?”
Sure, we have to ask that question because it’s really so important. Only how can a guy with an Italian name hosting a right-wing news show talk such crap? Rarely? Does this guy actually know any Catholics? I haven’t stepped into a church in going on five years, and I can probably fill up my fingers with couples granted annulments just in my social circle, and some of them were contested by ex-spouses. They’re about as hard to get as anything that costs a few hundred bucks, involves lots of paperwork and requires a wait of several months. Like ordering a foreign sports car, only way less expensive.