Commercials are the State of the Union
Two Sunday mornings ago, sitting in an apartment equipped with cable television, I happened upon a CNN broadcast called “State of the Union,” hosted by the perpetual scowler Jake Tapper.
I figured I’d better look at a show with such a solemn and important title.
The federal government had only been open for less than 48 hours after its record-setting five-week shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers were waiting for back pay after weeks of scrambling to meet basic expenses.
The FBI had just engaged in a high-profile military-style raid on the home of a top Donald Trump associate and adviser, Roger Stone.
Washington was leading an international effort to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela.
Meteorologists were predicting a record deep-freeze across the upper Midwest.
There was a lot going on in “the Union.” I decided to watch.
I caught a glance of Tapper’s frowning face as CNN moved into a long line of commercials, almost all of which were for pharmaceutical products catering to Baby Boomers. Drugs with strange-sounding three-syllable names and daunting side-effects including death.
I put the volume up and left the room to attend to wash some dishes.
“State of the Union” returned. I could hear U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) telling Tapper that government shut-downs don’t provide Republicans “good leverage.”
Reflecting that Rubio was leading…