When I read a television column, I want to see reviews of shows. I'll even read reviews of one-time shows like the Academy Awards, if the column is entertaining enough. But Tom Shales's long slide down to irrelevance started, I think, when he began turning his reviews into political columns.
Nobody's going to confuse Joanne Ostrow with Tom Shales, but she's following his lead in turning her TV column into political commentary. First, there was the snark-filled review of Sarah Palin's Alaska, where she finds the show more "troubling" than just about every other reality genre including "numerous shows about families with 19 kids, hoarders, polygamists and JonBenet look-alikes." Like her or not, there are plenty of people out there willing to make fun of Bristol's formerly delicate condition, without Ostrow's needing to join the fun. It's not worth refuting her point-by-point, of course, but we don't come away knowing if the show's any good.
Then, yesterday, Ms. Ostrow decided that the public's distaste for self-pornification and borderline sexual assault was little more than a media fiction, getting far more attention than it deserved.
Those lascivious X-ray eyes. Those groping hands. What a perfectly titillating story. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Libertarian Party and the Tea Partiers were in rare agreement....Only later did we learn (via a CBS poll) that 81 percent of those surveyed had no objections to the new screenings.
I don't know where Ms. Ostrow works, but this year's big April 15 Tea Party rally, on the west side of the State Capitol, right across the street from the Denver Post building, was hosted by the then-Libertarian candidate for CD-6, and featured more libertarians, small- and large-L, than Republicans. Anyone who's bothered to read more than a sentence or two about the Tea Parties knows that they're far more small-l libertarian than anything else.
As for the CBS poll:
On the eve of one of the nation's busiest travel days, a poll has found that 61% of likely voters oppose the newly enhanced security measures at the country's airports.
The poll by Zogby International of 2,032 likely voters also found that 48% said they would probably seek alternatives to flying because of the new measures.
The Zogby poll, taken online Nov. 19-22, seems to indicate a change in public opinion over the last few weeks. A CBS News telephone poll taken Nov. 7-10 found that 81% of Americans questioned said they approved of the use of the full-body scanners at airports. The CBS poll did not ask about the new pat-down search techniques.
Now, that LA Times story was only a week old, so the Post's computers may not have access to it yet, but those of us on the outside have known about it for some time.
Question for Ms. Ostrow: you want to be a TV critic, or a lefty ombudsman?