This morning I endured with a degree of amusement a report of yet another interview with Levi Johnston, the young man who is the father of Bristol Palin’s baby. This time he was being questioned as to the reason that Sarah Palin has stepped down from being governor of Alaska. He cited both money and family reasons which may or may not be why Sarah Palin has made the decision to not fulfill her term as governor.

 

        What amazes me is not so much Levi’s answer, but why we are interviewing him in the first place. I mean no unkindness or disrespect to him but the only reason that he is known at all is because he was the high school boyfriend of Sarah Palin’s daughter and is the father of her baby. He is a nineteen year old kid who is probably a nice enough guy however he is not a wise or astute individual whose opinion or viewpoint is relevant or worthy to be sought after. Yet I have seen him on Larry King Live, as well as several talk shows and news segments and he is not merely being asked questions about his personal relationship with Bristol Palin. On one particular interview, he was being asked his opinion on the economy of Alaska and his views on the “bridge to nowhere.” I had one question swirling around my head as I watched that interview…why do we care what this kid thinks?  Just because he found himself on center stage and in the media spotlight because he was the unwed father of Sarah Palin’s grandbaby does not then launch him into expert status on issues of the day, does it? It just all smacks of Joe the Plumber. Joe asked a very interesting question of Barak Obama during the campaign that made him the poster boy for the Republican party which I completely understand. His question of Obama is what elicited the infamous response of “Let’s spread the wealth around” comment by our now president. I understood his jump to fame as well as McCain’s motivation to jump on the Joe the Plumber momentum train however why do I now sometimes still see ol’ Joe on political panels debating the topics of the day? The obvious answer for Joe of course, is the dollar bill as I suppose being a part time media attraction beats a plumber’s salary any day of the week, but is he really qualified to be on National news programming commenting on a variety of topics? Perhaps when he is on, there is a ratings boost, I do not know, but that would certainly answer the question as to why we are still seeing him on T.V.

 

        Back now to Levi Johnston; another objection that I have with him is how his entire viewpoint on Sarah Palin, the Palin family, her political life , everything has drastically changed now that his relationship with Bristol Palin has fallen apart. During the campaign, I saw an interview in which he gushed about the Palin family, their class, their sincerity, Sarah Palin’s astounding qualifications and character, and how fortunate he was to be soon becoming the son-in-law to Todd and Sarah Palin. Now that it appears that he will perhaps never become part of the Palin family, he sings quite a different tune every time the microphone is stuck in front of his face which by the way is a lot more than it used to be now that the liberal left media can bank on negative rhetoric from a bitter Mr. Johnson. I do not want to be misunderstood as being partial towards the Palin family in this apparent break and conflict between them and Levi Johnston because I am not. I really very ambivalent about the relationship between both parties as it is their business and does not affect me or others in any significant way. I am just becoming weary at listening to him being questioned on a vast array of topics and then his answers being splashed on both the screen and in print as if he was a learned and proven man abounding in knowledge and wisdom. He is not objective, he now has an axe to grind with the Palin family and he will not hesitate to color all of his responses in a light that will reflect negatively on anything pertaining to the governor, her politics, and her life in general. The ability to discern and recognize a nonobjective source , I assume would have been covered in journalism 101 which has me baffled every time I continue to see Levi interviewed.

 

        This sort of thing is becoming more common however, this dumbing down of American journalism and politics. We see it more every day and it is the same reason for the disgraceful moment of silence that congress took yesterday for Michael Jackson which I discussed in yesterday’s blog. Although that incident and Levi Johnston are two separate stories, the principle is the same which is that we are seeing a blending of the shallow and the sensational with what should be the noble and dignified. It speaks of a lack of understanding and maturity and professionalism in both the political and journalistic arenas.

 

        I am not sure what the immediate answer is or what we as citizens can do at this point to steer it in a different direction other than recognizing it for what it is. Let’s not fall into the mindless trap that so many seem to be caught in which can only be referred to as the seeking of the sensational instead of the inquiring of the intelligent. It truly is a dumbing down that we need to combat and be aware of lest we gradually and subtly join the ranks those who crave shallow and celebrity driven news coverage.

 

Don’t dumb down…you’re smarter than that!