NPR: Expecting Our Leaders to Be In 'Functional, Heterosexual, Child-Producing Unions Is Totally Archaic'

On Tuesday night's All Things Considered newscast, Michele Norris sadly relayed news of the Gore separation:  "The Gores had a storybook romance: college sweethearts, four beautiful children. Their playful affection energized the campaign trail. The concession was you don't make that kind of stuff up. The Gores' union became a model of stability in a hard-charging town where partnerships, even romantic ones, are sometimes seen as a matter of convenience."

Norris discussed the matter with Rebecca Traister of the liberal website Salon.com, who said she felt "ashamed" and "sort of silly having an investment in a couple that you don't know," and that's when the inevitable secular-left analysis began: traditional, monogamous, heterosexual, reproducing marriage is an archaic social construct:

TRAISTER: And so it is a little bit like mom and dad breaking up out of the blue, except they're not really our mom and dad - and I am aware of that, I just want to make clear.(Laughter)

NORRIS: In some ways is the presidency and the requirements that presidents have solid marriages, is that a bit out of step with larger society, where almost half of all marriages end in divorce?

TRAISTER: It is totally out of step with society. The idea that our leaders are supposed to in any way be in functional, heterosexual, child-producing unions is totally archaic, and it has nothing to do with their ability to govern or to lead us. And this is probably ultimately leads to a lot of the bad political marriages that we wind up seeing, which politicians who realize they have to fit this very outdated mold in order to be taken seriously and elected get into sham marriages.

As required, Traister told Norris there was no hint of infidelity as far as anyone knew:

Now, there is absolutely no indication that anybody behaved particularly badly in the breakup of the Gore marriage. We don't know anything about what's happened. But we really - they presented themselves - it was not just that we placed all this on them. They did sort of take pains to present themselves as deeply affectionate, occasionally uncomfortably erotic, political couple, and certainly a committed one with this, you know, very functional family in which the kids behaved in ordinary ways.

Funny how media liberals utterly forget the Al Gore III drugs-and-speeding news (repeating that is not essential right now, but it ought to curtail the "kids behaved in ordinary ways" line).

NPR offered no social conservative analyst who would say it's not archaic to expect our leaders to get married (if they so choose) and have children and stay married. Neither the NPR anchor or her guest acknowledged that the "half of all marriages" doesn't mean half of all people. It means some people marry and divorce repeatedly.

Certainly, no one would insist that perhaps the Gore breakup suggests there was some artificiality in their public image. But that might suggest the liberal media are gullible (or just reliably promotional) when they cover liberals.

On her own blog at Salon, Traister wished the Bushes would have divorced instead:

Relatedly: so soon after Robbins and Sarandon? Really? Couldn't divorce have taken the Bushes, or maybe the Broderick-Parkers, first, and given us some respite from confounding and embarrassingly inappropriate sadness over the personal decisions of celebrity couples whose marriages we didn't even realize we had any emotional investment in until they dropped this bomb all over our post-Memorial Day Tuesday and now we can't work because we're really, stupidly sad?

Good god, does this mean that Al Gore is going to date? And plus, oh please please please tell me he has not already been dating. Do not want to know. Nyah, nyah, nyah. I cannot hear you. I cannot heeeeaaaar you.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis