Watching the news, it is hard to believe that there is any major problem with the US economy. Or, if there is a problem it is hard to understand why it is more important than the entertainment section or the sport commentary. In fact, I'm finding it more difficult to differentiate between economics, politics, sports, and entertainment in the mainstream media, which has spent the better part of the past year focusing on the potential use of steroids by well-known athletes from track stars to baseball players. The raging foreclosure crisis, a topic with much more personal effects on the average consumer, causing a depression in the real estate market is almost completely ignored.

Why is this? It seems to me that all this focus on irrelevant sports and entertainment is simply part of the public relations plan put on by the government, which spins its wheels investigating worthless events that harm no one but involve celebrities and professional sports players. And from the perspective of the media, consumers and homeowners worried about foreclosure are much less likely to spend their increasingly unstable incomes on the products of advertisers running commercials on the stations. It really is just easier for everyone involved to pretend that problems do not exist.
But the governmental focus on investigating sports and entertainment also helps politicians build themselves up and increase their own celebrity status. By appearing to be investigating important issues like one person taking a substance or not taking a substance, it helps create an aura of higher celebrity around government officials, who are never lacking in ego. It also gives these professional lawyers another forum in which to spout off their opinions of "universal truths" about "The Law," "fairness," "justice," and all the rest.

The pointless inquiries also takes time away that could be used to investigate real potential issues, such as war crimes, financial crimes, economic incompetence, and so on. But all of those, of course, are depressing to most Americans, whereas a daily dose of two-minutes hate against an "overpaid," "arrogant" baseball player instills a healthy amount of fear of and trust in government violence.

The real objective, so far as I can tell, is not even to prevent athletes from shooting up. I think it is a safe bet that many of them are still doing it and will continue to do so. The lesson to be learned here is that, if an athlete is planning on taking steroids, they better do a good job of not getting caught. And if they are unlucky enough to make a name for themselves and get caught, they better not lie to their surrogate parents (the State), or else they can expect a televised dog and pony show to illustrate their humiliation every day by lawyers in Congress who have never played a sport in their lives and have absolutely no idea what they are even talking about (but who are only too happy to take contributions from drug companies and medical interests).

Not to mention the fact that almost no one in Congress (with a few notable exceptions ) has any idea what they are talking about in terms of economics, foreclosures, or foreign policy, either. I think it would be safe to bet that they would not do a better job of investigating those topics than they happen to be doing with steroids, and the results will be just as worthless and irrelevant to the vast majority of homeowners wondering how they will make their mortgage payment next month.

So maybe the best we can hope for from the government is just to keep on investing topics that are wholly irrelevant to most people. Leave the people and the market to work out its own instabilities and get over the current recession with as little interference as possible. But would it be reasonable for the media to focus slightly more on providing homeowners with more important information that they can use to keep on top of their finances and navigate through the housing depression, rather than bombarding the viewer with irrelevant celebrity trials for victimless crimes?


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