Commentary: Ozzie Guillen media circus brings out the worst in everyone

The Miami HeraldApril 11, 2012 

I wanted to call in sick today.

I had nothing to add to the loud and obnoxious conversation swirling everywhere you turned about the top news of the day, the kind of incredulous, ridiculous, predictable story that brings out the worst in all us, including the media.

An uninformed fool, with a history of offending everyone from African Americans to gays and who readily jumps from one political stance to another, says in a Time magazine story that he admires the longevity of Fidel Castro, and all hell breaks loose in town.

The players readily line up, as if this were a hurricane-preparedness drill and everyone knew their part: The most hysterical elements of the community rip something and holler at cameras; the bosses of the offender, whose money-making plans the fool just spoiled, release statements of outrage; the politicians, who see the opportunity to easily win votes without actually having to work for them, send press releases; and the journalists who can’t pass up a good fray chime in because we all know that crap like Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen dishes out drives readership, viewership and viral Internet activity.

Ca-ching-g-g!

At the end of it all, the cause of Cuba — a worthy cause that deserves much better —and a people long-suffering are reduced to caricature.

Only one word for the circus came to mind: Barf.

I could’ve called in sick, I was that nauseous.

Please, even the usually civil New Yorker magazine got off its high-brow train to further spin the overexposed Guillen story.

Aiya (that would be a Cantonese expression of exasperation), I walked back and forth from my computer to the phone.

I gulped half a cup of straight-up dark café cubano sweetened with Splenda, and after reading all the hoopla surrounding the Guillen press conference at Marlins Park, in which the most hated manager in America swore he hated Castro and apologized, I brewed Starbucks French Roast Extra-Bold.

Who gives a hoot about what Guillen thinks?

The man has a history: He insults people, then apologizes.

A man or woman of real convictions stands by them even in the face of criticism, even if it costs them their job.

Who gives a hoot what Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez thinks about what Guillen thinks?

The man needs to stick to running the county.

And the rest of us, well, we never learn the lesson: We have the right to protest and express our views, however unpopular they might be with the rest of the nation, but we must never forget that even fools have First Amendment rights.

That’s what makes this a democracy, but honestly, do I really need to say that?

I grabbed the phone and started to call my editor. Then, a real breaking news headline flashed across my screen: Rick Santorum suspends his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.

Country saved, sanity restored, at least temporarily.

But stay tuned, the circus is not over yet. There’s still the weekend news cycle, and not all the pundits have had their say.

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