Charlie Sheen's appeal to a killer to surrender, the pope's resignation, and the President's efforts to prepare for his State of the Union speech were some of the top news stories in the media on Monday February 11, 2013 and so the pundits went on "Condition Red" status in anticipation of a week that would not soon be forgotten. In response to such a week, a columnist can try to provide the best (most quotable) analysis of one facet of the complex week, find an overlooked story that was getting lost in the shuffle, or use the Walter Winchell School of Journalism method, called three dot journalism, of trying to make one snarky comment about each of all the various topics of the week.
Comparisons of the search for the rogue cop in L. A., Christopher J. Dorner with the O. J. low speed pursuit seemed too obvious.
A full column about the time that John Dillinger was apprehended in Truckee CA would mean a lot of fact checking work. Dillinger was arrested. The local authorities telegraphed their coup to Washington and got a stultifying reply. The local sheriff was informed that Dillinger was in prison in Indiana and their prisoner should be released immediately with an abundance of sincere apologies. Three hours later they got a high priority update message that said "disregard previous message." It was too late and that little footnote to gangster history was consigned to a life of obscurity. The fact that Truckee and Big Bear Lake were similar terrains would help add to the appeal of such a sidebar story.
The most famous fugitive in Canadian history also fled to a snowy mountain area to elude the Mounties. Readers from north of the USA might like seeing a column in the USA that indicated a passing knowledge of their history.
A snarky suggestion about the possibility that law enforcement officials might want to check and see if their fugitive was hiding in the Gelenrowan Inn might tickle the fancy of readers in Australia, but that would be too esoteric, arcane, and baffling for most Yanks.
Technically isn't one escape from Alcatraz still an open case?
We know of one fan of the TV series "The Fugitive," who finally got to see the last episode of that program while he was in Saigon. Have they ever use DNA testing to provide an update on the real life murder that provided the basis for the TV series?
For a column about papal history we would have to locate a copy of "The Bad Popes," and reread it before attempting a long and accurate column about that topic. What's not to love about someone historians call "Pope Joan"? Didn't one of the popes have the heartache of contending with the scandal of one of his kids killing a sibling?
The topic of the state of the union should be easy to predict. What do folks think a President who has just been reelected is going to say at the beginning of his second term in office? The World's Laziest Journalist is considering doing all the fact checking about the "sit down strike" Republicans are conducting in the halls of Congress and lumping all the relevant material into one column that would carry the headline: "Dead Democracy Walking!'
It would take a massive amount of arrogant pride for a columnist to think that he could come up with an interesting thought provoking angle to pop culture that all the other commentators missed during a hectic news week.
The Internets was fascinated last week with a story detailing private e-mail material from former President George W. Bush which had been discovered by hackers.
Initial news reports implied that some unpatriotic scallywags might have been the culprits. With small staffs and tight budgets, most privatized news media can't waste resources on analyzing that innocuous crime news but if they did, what could else could it possibly be? Didn't Watergate start out as a "second rate burglary" item from a police beat reporter?
The media ignored the possibility that the hackers were from Iran or China and immediately focused attention of the unpatriotic possibility that Americans in cahoots with Anonymous were the culprits.
Did anyone have the audacity to suggest that the story was actually a Republican leak which will form the foundation for rehabilitating the Bush family brand name? Wouldn't the leaked -- stolen -- e-mails help humanize the former President? Isn't that how they started the campaign in the late Seventies to reshape Nixon's image for history? First you humanize him, then you deify him. By the time Nixon was buried hadn't his image been recast as a misunderstood American hero? Well, if JEB is going to get the Republican nomination in 2016, when, where, and how would you start the effort to reestablish the Bush Dynasty image?
If any nationally known pundit hypothesized such an explanation, that fellow would immediately have to content with explaining how a copy of his "Employee ID card" from the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory had made its way onto the top Yahoo searches of the day list.
What's not to love about a country where a President's State of the Union speech morphs into the status of "opening act" for a Ted Nugent press conference?