John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


History Happens, Sometimes Quickly

Posted on June 25, 2009

History Happens, Sometimes Quickly


            When I left for my vacation (a Disney cruise for the whole family, back to that later), history was being made in Iran.  As I was getting ready to come home last night,  the new history being made was the news that Mark Sanford was in Argentina and not in Appalachia.  And tonight, the story is all about Michael Jackson, who apparently died of a heart attack.


            The attention span of the American media last about thirty seconds.  And that makes Mark Sanford the luckiest man in the world. 


            Jacko’s death, tragic as it may be, shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody.  That guy has been teetering on the edge of disaster for at least a decade.  But that won’t stop the media from spending all of its time figuring out what happened to him, who saw him last, who gets his money, who he really slept with, etc.


            The Sanford story is also not that newsworthy, except for the Argentina angle. Any time a Republican is caught with his pants down, the press immediately makes him out to be a Presidential contender (think John Ensign), but Sanford wasn’t a serious threat to ever be President. Yes, he is another Republican who has condemned infidelity before he committed it, but that is a bipartisan affliction.  That the media likes to make a special point to condemn Republicans for this says more about the media than it does about the Republicans.


            The Iranian revolution could be historically significant.  I was not one to condemn President Obama for his initial handling of this Middle East crisis, because I believed that the surest way to hurt the reform movement was for the American President to support it.  But now, the news has moved on, and the media will be consumed with Michael Jackson instead the Supreme Leader’s tactics to suppress the opposition.


            If a historically significant event occurs, like a bloody revolution in an important nation that happens to be on our biggest enemies, and the media ignores it in pursuit of a story about a pop star’s death, does that mean that it will really happen or will it just fizzle out thanks to America’s indifference?


            Or will American indifference actually make the revolution even more historically significant in the long run?


            In any event, history happens, even if you are on a Disney cruise.  Disney does a remarkably good job of keeping the trains running, of keeping the kids occupied, of selling merchandise at every possible moment, and of keeping the drinks easily accessible (which comes in handy when you are traveling with a large group of family). 


            They know how to make a buck and how to bring a little magic to little people.


            History happens, sometimes quickly, and sometimes when you are on cruising to the Bahamas to celebrate a historically significant birthday for Grandma.