Media's Three Amigos

With Rush, Kobe, and Arnold in the news, it's time to tighten the seat belts

By Andy Porras
Published on LatinoLA: November 5, 2003

Media's Three Amigos

If you thought the recent media roller coaster ride had terminated, hang on, here we go again.

It's time for Rush, Kobe, and Arnold, today's prime candidates as the media's "three amigos." Individually, they are prime to provide palpable and endless material for the columnists and editorial cartoonists of the land. Interestingly enough, at one time all three were California residents . . . coincidence?

During the insane and impetuous recall, the Golden State was shining in coverage worldwide. From print and radio to television, our state rolled up more printed column inches, more air time and more tube time than any other topic, including Iraq and the real West Wing.

If readers, listeners and viewers think that with the recall fanfare wrapped up, normality looms on the horizon, uh-uh, the best and/or worst is yet to come.
Rush, Arnie, and Kobe or, respectively, Mr. "Excellence in Typecasting," Rush Limbaugh; Mr. "I'm-a- human-being; I'm-a-man-just-like-everybody-else," Kobe Bryant; and Mr. "I-can-pronounce-the-name-of-your-state-anyway-I-want-to-cuz-I'm-the-man,"
Arnold Schwarzenegger are among today's top headline grabbers, for different reasons.

A newer version of the good, the bad, and the ugly, if you will.

No, of course not, nobody in this business prays such bad fortunes befall any of God's children. Alleged drug addiction, rape, or groping accusations can't be swept under the denial and arrogance carpet.

Belittling people of color, aloofness or cashing-in on celebrity status should not be either, for that matter.

In spite of our country's adult population currently hovering at a seventh and eighth grade reading level, Mr. Limbaugh constantly preaches to his flock that
there is no need to read at all, that he'll furnish them with all the necessary details they'll ever desire! And you know what, the ditto/dullheads subscribe to his revelations. Enough said.

Could L.A. Laker superstar, Bryant, have been listening to the Rushmeister? He went directly from high school into the NBA, you know. No college nor
university dating experiences, when the word "no" is heard more often than not. Reading and learning are not a prerequisite either to play basketball, folks.

Like the NBA, Bryant reached into the high school pool for a mate. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but pioneers like Horace Mann and John Dewey would certainly recommend a little commitment to knowledge, occasionally.

Being astute about specific subject matter can be extremely important in governing; be it a state or a nation, it is desirable to possess a certain degree of wisdom acquired through instruction. Voters, like mortals, can confuse celebrity status for cerebral skills.

Experience is a wonderful adjective to affix before a leader's name. Alas, nothing even close developed in numerous recall election candidates.

Angry and fed-up voters? Are these not the same individuals whose children learn in horse and buggy era classrooms, then expect space-age students upon graduation? Where's the rage, soccer moms and dads?

Nevertheless, these Three Amigos may prove to be similar to a silver lining of sorts on the gray overcast that sometimes engulfs our nation. They may still enlighten the people that admire them. They could still make a difference.

Take elitist Limbaugh: He doesn't think he's better than Rio Lindans, women, Muslims, environmentalists, poor people, the undocumented, the liberal media,
Democrats, foreigners, or whomever. The guy's convinced he's better than anybody!

That he may be involved in acquiring painkilling drugs illegally is yet to be proven. However, It would be decorous to see a sometimes belligerent know-it-all like Limbaugh with egg on his mug, but not for obvious reasons. More important, perhaps a more sympathetic attention might be drawn to the problem of those who
are seriously addicted to painkillers.

More serious attention should also be accorded to victims of sexual assault, especially when some of these perpetuators are on America's A-list of the rich
and famous. In Kobe's case, the 25-year-old father of an infant daughter, could be doing time for the purported crime should the alleged victim be spilling nothing but the truth.

The charges for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in Colorado are linked to a "Class 3" felony in that state. The penalties range from four years to life in prison or 20 years to life on probation plus a fine from $3,000 to $750,000. Then of course, there is a civil suit for megabucks that may be filed after all the hoopla blows over. The entire matter is not a slam-dunk deal for anybody.

Then there is "Ahnold," currently playing himself in an image vs. reality role. After selling himself to California voters as an "outsider" and "just an immigrant who made it." Se?or Muscles spent his electoral campaign dismissing his violent, gun-toting films as mere movies, not to be taken seriously. However, he knows that's why he basked in voter appeal. The electorate wants Schwarzenegger the
Terminator, not that Austrian who married a media personality named Kennedy!

The state's staggering budget deficit and other woes are not scripted for quick solutions. The fact that he is surrounding himself with cronies like Pete Wilson,
second only to Gray Davis as a hated politician, may define the next few years under the Capitol dome in Sacramento.

Sure looks like more media roller coaster time ahead. Get a grip, and retighten your seat belt.

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