Might as well be a dunce cap.
On Wednesday, July 22nd President Obama gave a press conference on the state of the proposed health care reform legislation. At that press conference, Obama commented on the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Surely you've heard about the arrest of Professor Gates by now - that's the point of today's Intershame.

At President Obama's press conference he addressed a question about the arrest of Professor Gates and remarked that he thought the Cambridge Police Department "acted stupidly" for arresting a man in his own home.

"Acted stupidly" - Those two words uttered by President Obama became the news. All discussion about heath care reform came to a grinding halt. The press understands that the average American citizen is much better equipped to process a two second sound bite than the complexity of health care reform so they played to the lowest common denominator and ran with the "acted stupidly" story.

And when I say "they" I mean "everybody". NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and CNN all started their broadcast day leading with the President's remarks about the Cambridge Police Department. The two online news giants representing each side of the aisle (huffingtonpost.com and drudgereport.com) lead with this story as well.

All for ratings and pageviews - which in turn mean dollars.

Get in the corner American people.
It didn't use to be this way. News wasn't always a for-profit endeavor. There was a time when the thought of a network news division acting as a cash cow would be the epitome of unethical behavior. Those days have long since past.

And the result of this shift in ethical standards? Look no further than the past 66 hours. Right now, as I type this, H.R.3200: America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 sits before congress. If this piece of legislation is passed it would arguably have the biggest impact on the United States citizenry since FDR signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935. And we're not even talking about it.

News organizations would rather focus on two asinine words the President uttered because they know the american people's weakness for tabloid-style journalism and will attempt to exploit and profit from that weakness any chance they're given.

It would be nice if the American people would start asking themselves what is truly important. I don't care if you're for Obama's plan or against it, the consensus in the country is that something has to be done about the health care situation so we should be debating its merits.

A few years from now when somebody dear to you is denied a medical procedure they need or becomes uninsurable because they battled through an expensive illness, you're not going to give a shit what Obama said about some cop in Cambridge. If you're honest with yourself, you probably don't give a shit now either.

UPDATE 07/27/2009: What are the lead stories today? ABC and Drudge are leading with Sarah Palin and Fox News is scaring us about Hamas. Kudos to CBS, NBC and huffingtonpost who are actually leading with health care stories.