Sooner or later, you just knew that some politician was going to step in and say about Michael Jackson what Republican Congressman Peter King said in his post-July 4 video. Standing in front of an American Legion Post, New York 3rd Congressional District Representative Peter King introduced himself, then lambasted the media for “glorifying” Michael Jackson, who King described as a “low-life,” a “pedophile,” and a “pervert.” He questioned being politically correct about it and boldly stated that instead the media should focus more on teacher, policemen, firefighters, and the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As TMZ joked, it is evident that Congressman Peter King is not one of the 1.6 million that registered to get tickets to attend Michael Jackson’s memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Tuesday. (Of course, he may have been and the video was a result of being a disgruntled loser in the lottery.)
But Republican Congressman Peter King said he was reflecting on the services so many perform in the United States without getting much credit, but he has been seeing “for I don’t know how long now” (hint: the King of Pop died on June 25) Michael Jackson’s name, face, and picture “all over” the media. He called for an end to the “psychobabble.” Michael Jackson, he said, was a “pervert, a child molester. He was a pedophile.”
King asks, “What does this say about our country?” He maintains that we’re “too politically correct. No one wants to stand up and say, ‘We don’t need Michael Jackson.'”
And there it was; somebody had finally said it…
Congressman Peter King goes on to state that he believes that the media has “disgraced itself” and that “too many people in public life have made fools of themselves talking about Michael Jackson.”
He finishes the video by listing the various “people we should be glorifying, not some pervert like Michael Jackson.”
Congressman King makes good points in that the media has helped make Michael Jackson’s death more of a cause celebre than necessary and that our teachers, firefighters, police officers, military service people, and volunteers don’t get as much credit as they may deserve. However, that does not make the media a disgrace. Sensationalism, unsubstantiated rumor-mongering, and providing fictional accounts make the media a disgrace. All of which has happened in the aftermath of Michael Jackson’s death.
But that isn’t what Congressman Peter King is talking about. Peter King is talking politics. And he’s talking about time.
Congressman King is running for reelection. Every politician is always running for reelection. Peter King represents a New York district of conservative voters. Talking up the honorable and responsible segments of society is always a winner, no matter what ideology one espouses. But talking down the media, their liberal slant, and juxtaposing the seemingly frivolous — the attention paid to Michael Jackson’s death — with the seriousness of sacrifice is a sure-fire winner in the conservative sector. Throw in the honesty of political incorrectness and the added taint of perversion and pedophilia and you get the moral middle class and more religious to listen in.
Republican Congressman Peter King is also talking about time. He said credit, but he also meant time. People equate time with credit, which is not necessarily a truism. There is a great discrepancy in the amount of time spent “glorifying” people like Michael Jackson and time spent on things that really matter (that’s Peter King’s point: “things that really matter”), like the deaths of our troops in foreign lands, volunteers at cancer clinics, and teachers in bad neighborhoods.
But what Congressman King does not bring up in his pontificating is that he knew full well that his little speech on video in front of an American Legion Post would get airplay, using the disgraceful media by leveraging the demand for stories about the “low-life” “pedophile” to his own political advantage. That he would become part of the time wasted on frivolous accounts and stories that take away from the time spent on things that really matter.
In short, being the knowledgeable politician that he is, Peter King knew that he would create a scandal with his utterances. Being an intelligent man, he also knew that his utterances would become part of the “disgrace” he was talking about. But that really doesn’t matter in the world of politics. Ends justify means, more often as not.
His little speech about Michael Jackson’s glorification just might get him reelected in New York’s 3rd District.
There’s added bonuses to King speaking out as he has: He gets to slam President Obama (“people in public life making fools of themselves talking about Michael Jackson”). He gets to parade under the banner of his First Amendment rights (“we’re too politically correct”), which is always popular (no matter one’s ideology). And speaking ill of the dead is safe from legal action.
But Congressman Peter King should get set for a backlash of public condemnation. Why? For being honest? Partially. For being disingenuous and having an ulterior motive will get him the most criticism.
Because this video did not just appear in a vacuum…
For although it is true that many people who serve in the United States (and outside) in professional vocations do so without much fanfare, they do so understanding that a hero’s accolades may not come their way. They do it out of selflessness, altruism, a sense of personal and social responsibility, and sometimes selfishness (because who truly does not wish to feel good about themselves?). And many are acknowledged and are given such acknowledgement many times without the prompting of a self-aggrandizing politician.
Peter King’s pronouncements about the media being a disgrace is nothing new, nor is it something to which many don’t agree. His self-serving comments about teachers and firefighters, et. al., are simply designed to get him reelected (which does not mean that he does not believe what he says, just that he has more than being honest as a simple reason for being “politically incorrect”). But as he derogated one particular human being who was, according to him, getting far more credit and attention than he deserved, there is no doubt that Peter King knew his video would get considerable airplay (read: disgraceful media exposure/time) and become part of the disgrace and frivolous news.
And by doing so, by putting out this obviously contentious video, Republican Congressman Peter King has become just another waste of time and a willing participant in the disgrace…
Congressman Peter King’s video can be seen at TMZ.com.