Column: Mirror to your soul

By Angela Loiacono

All my qualms have been settled, and I can now rest peacefully in my bed. With a sigh of relief, I watched an ABC news clip detailing the music preferences of George W. Bush. Now, thanks to ABC, I know exactly what songs are on the iPod of the President of the United States. I have to admit, I’ve always wondered what kept W going when he went out on his runs.

Okay, now that my brief stint of sarcasm has exhausted itself, I’m left wondering – why the hell was this on the news? I’m sure there are some presidential biographers out there who were quickly scribbling down everything that ABC’s Jake Tapper had to say, but that number had to be small. While I listened to media strategist Mark Mckinnon and sang along to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “House is Rocking,” I actually started to laugh. This was deemed newsworthy?

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Tapper actually began his commentary with the following, “If the iPod is a mirror into the soul, what do these songs say about President Bush?” For a minute I thought it was a joke. With my mp3 player loaded with everything from Keith Urban to Something Corporate, I can’t imagine the conclusions someone would make about me. And while the Texas cowboy had several country songs on his iPod, The Knack’s “My Sharona” seemed to be the controversial selection. With some arguably sexually explicit lyrics, the song was discussed in contrast to Bush’s conservative views.

I also am wondering why Tapper felt the need to recite portions of “My Sharona.” No implications were verbally stated, but the “rather naughty” lyrics were read in a rather serious tone. He recited the line “keeping it a mystery it gets to me, running down the length of my thighs, Sharona…” Hmmmm … what was he trying to imply?

I’m tempted to call up ABC President David Westin and ask him why he didn’t have anything better to run. Last time I checked, our country was involved in a war the pope just died, and gas prices were soaring. I would have recommended using air time with a more pressing, important topic. While ABC often does a good job of covering the pertinent issues, I wonder how many people were sincerely interested in the songs W listens to. The only reason I listened to the clip was because my father found it ridiculous and borderline funny, so he suggested it to me.

But maybe ABC is just the culprit that I chose to pick on. I don’t know how many other newspapers and television news reports spend time discussing the rumors surrounding famous people and then seem to add their own slant on the topic. We need to have a better focus on what is important today. Michael Jackson is getting just as much press as the war in Iraq – that’s just not right.

It may even get worse. I fear that maybe there are people who do care about why Whitney Houston is back in rehab. I have a feeling that there is an audience out there who sincerely wants to know whether Britney Spears is pregnant and would rather read tabloids than the Chicago Tribune. But why is that – isn’t the purpose of the news to get pertinent information out? When did it turn into a source of entertainment?

In the back of my mind, I’m always looking around to see what is newsworthy. It’s a weird thing that happens to you when you want to be a journalist. But for every person who has kept up on the democracy in Iraq, there is a person who can’t find Iraq on a map. We need to settle ourselves back into the idea that there are things happening in the world that are bigger than the music we listen to. Now, had W been listening to OutKast’s “Bombs over Baghdad,” there might have been a story.