Politics for the Masses
by Jan Baughman

George Stephanopoulos joins ABC's "This Week"; Congresswoman Susan Molinari joins CBS News. Former football star turned Senator is the Republican Vice Presidential candidate and a would-be actor debuted in the White House in his most famous leading role...and so it goes. So, what's new in objective journalism and serving the people? Howard Stern could easily have become Governor of New York. Career paths are not always predictable and straight routes from point A to point B. In the good old days, politicians retired to a career representing Political Action Committees, where they became well-paid to endorse the agendas they couldn't previously be overtly well-paid representing. Now, the potential for reaching the masses is phenomenal - - fame and fortune can be theirs by starring in a television program.

Just imagine Susan Molinari having the possibility to influence the baby-boomers' babies every Saturday morning to mold the political tendencies of the next generation. Perhaps a new-found support for abortion awaits us. Newt Gengrich may become a regular guest on Susan's program, and hopefully that will be equally influential on the nation's youth. But don't think for a moment that Ms. Molinari has left politics for good. When her show bombs, she'll find an office to run for.

George Stephanopoulos is another matter. He is perpetually unable to shed his political perspective for even the slightest appearance of journalistic objectivity. But, why should he? He is reportedly aspiring to return to politics. In the meantime, his popularity rating -- or at least his face and name recognition -- will continue to rise, and he doesn't even have to pay for the publicity. That campaign money is becoming more and more difficult to raise, after all.

Yes, we love our television programs and the personalities become like family. Just imagine a President Brinkley, a Vice President Sawyer, a Chief of Staff Rooney. All trustworthy servants, indeed. I'm looking forward to voting for the first all-television, female/male, Republican/Democrat ticket: Susan Molinari and George Stephanopoulos. The ratings will be spectacular; and if things don't work out, they'll simply be canceled.

Published June 05, 1997
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