Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is a “natural” in his new radio job, hosting the morning-drive show on WLS-AM in Chicago, the Christian Science Monitor is reporting.
Blagojevich, who was impeached and expelled from office a couple of months ago, regaled listeners as he criticized his successor’s tax increase.
He still faces federal corruption charges for allegedly trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.
This bit of news from the Christian Science Monitor gave me pause: A disgraced ex-politician finds an eager audience on the airwaves. (By the way, is the term “disgraced ex-politician” a redundancy or a tautology?)
There used to be a difference between being famous and being infamous. Would-be celebrities sought fame, not notoriety. You had to be seen doing something good in public to gain publicity, not be caught doing something illicit in private.
We used to shun the disgraced and the dishonorable among us — even pillory them. On real pillories! We used to call that “making an example” of someone.
Now we give them talk shows. We call it “making an example” of someone for profit. It’s all about the ratings and the sales, baby.
As long as you can entertain us, it doesn’t really matter how bad your actions have been or whether you’re sorry for them. We might not forgive you, but we will enjoy your abundant lack of self awareness and shame.
If you’re a bad guy, you owe it to yourself to amuse us. You owe it to us.
That was O.J. Simpson’s mistake. He didn’t try to entertain us after his trial. Instead, he said he was trying to find the “real killers” when we all knew he was on the same golf green with the real killer everywhere he putted.
HarperCollins/Regan Books even let O.J. write a book about his wife’s and her friend’s murders. They titled it “If I Did It.” They printed 400,000 copies of it and almost released it until someone said, “You know, this might be taking this O.J. thing just a little too far.”
This also was Bernie Madoff’s big mistake. He was accused of masterminding the biggest Ponzi scam in history — more than $65 BILLION, when all was said and done. And what did he do? He holed himself up in his $7 million penthouse on Park Avenue while the media and the public ate him alive. So old school.
What Bernie should have done was launch a charm offensive — do some interviews on “Oprah” or “The View,” serve soup and sandwiches to people at a homeless shelter, offer a large contribution to The Children’s Investment Fund (it’s a hedge fund, but it has a great name), or even make a special guest appearance on “Deal or No Deal” as The Banker.
So good luck to you, Rod Blagojevich. You’re doing exactly what you need to be doing. You might even beat those corruption charges.
Either way, we’ll be here waiting — to watch.