The Coast News Group
Not That You Asked

You call that news?

I’m guessing we all feel better now that Pat Sajak has apologized for once having boosted the then-fledgling career of Keith Olbermann. Maybe it’s just me, but had holding it in for so long caused facial tics each spin of the wheel?
On Nov. 10, Pat Sajak, host as we know of the popular TV game show “Wheel of Fortune,” took to his blog to issue a mea culpa over having exposed then-mustachioed local L.A. sportscaster Olbermann to a national audience on a CBS talk show that Sajak hosted in 1989.
“I’m not sure how he morphed into the bitter-sounding, hate-mongering name-caller he’s become, but I’m sorry he did,” Sajak blogged. “ … I do know that to whatever extent the political well has been poisoned, Keith has dumped more than his share of venom into the water. I’d like to think he knows that and maybe even regrets it.”
How many long, dark nights of the soul must Sajak have endured to come at last to recognize the error of his ways, decide to reveal them so starkly and candidly and, by inference, ask that we, the people upon whom Olbermann has with Sajak’s help been inflicted, put this outrage behind us and continue to tune in and enjoy the “Wheel”? (Have those facial muscles not relaxed?)
And what about Olbermann, whose own rage — albeit fueled by facts, as he’s wont to insist — threatens not only to be about to blow a gasket in his head on MSNBC’s “Countdown,” but also a fuse in my own TV, or for that matter my own cerebral cortex? He told the Hollywood Reporter — what with it all having become news — that if Sajak has to apologize for anything, it needs to be for that lame talk show he used to host. (Check on Olbermann’s credibility: He contributed to the campaigns of three Democrats, one of whom was given the money the day he appeared on the show).
Such is the stuff that makes the news lately, a tongue-wag-o-sphere that passes itself off as a 24-hour “cycle.” This is show business about show business, bringing to mind the classic definition of celebrity; to wit, someone known for their own well-knownness.
The air of urgency and importance about it all makes it wondrously absurd and comic, to me anyway, as I actually stop to give some serious consideration to the second thoughts of game show host and former TV weatherman Pat Sajak.
But the Sajak-Olbermann dust-up arrives amid turmoil of a similar ilk involving the immediate past occupant of the White House. For how crazy is it that former President George W., who has been beating the bushes lately to hype sales of his newly-released memoir, “Decision Points,” would find the “all-time low” point of his eight years in office to be rapper Kanye West’s saying in Katrina’s aftermath that Bush doesn’t care about black people?
He didn’t seem to at the time, certainly, the city of New Orleans gasping for air and thirsting for water amid a tepid and tardy relief response from Washington. But of all the things that occurred during that administration, W. should look at Kanye mouthing off as the lowest point? Now we’re into absurdity beyond imagination.
Shrug it off, W., please. Kanye is an impulsive showboat anyway. Forgive him his intemperance in the passion of the moment. While we’re at it, let’s join in forgiving Pat Sajak, not for introducing the nation to Keith Olbermann, but for parading his guilt over it before us in all its hand-wringing anguish.
Now Sajak tossed off a blog, but the former president wrote his memoir. He had all sorts of time to reflect on things. And so to come up with the nadir of his two terms in office being a swipe from a musician? Call out the National Guard.
We’re caught up in a fabulous sideshow. Behold how history, show business and book promotion meld into news. Oh, that Kanye West, he can sure be impertinent. And what is it about the ex-president that he deems an ill-tempered remark by a showboat to be the ultimate calumny?
Here’s a low point for you: In July 2001, the nation’s top intelligence officers vetted a ream of traffic to conclude beyond doubt that we must act immediately to take out Osama bin Laden, for he’s about to launch an attack on our shores … and the administration ignoring the alarm, letting weeks go by until at last issuing a national security directive, dated Sept. 10, 2001; too little too late, 24 hours before the brazen assault.
Kanye West? With all due respect, what a joke.