- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The rush to judgment in the Ron Mexico dogfighting mess has come to be the standard operating procedure of the 24/7 media marketplace whose appetite is insatiable.

This is not the fault of a particular entity in print or broadcast, just the dynamic of increasingly fragmented interests trying to claim their share of readers, viewers and listeners.

Milquetoast types need not apply to this marketplace.

The media caravan passed the intersection of restraint and reserve long ago, perhaps when the conglomerate known as ESPN was a humble one-station outlet.

You want saturation coverage on the subculture of dogfighting?

ESPN can give you 12 talking heads on television, an equal number on radio, articles galore on its Web site and in its magazine and even a partridge in a pear tree. And that is the approach of ESPN in the first couple of days after a compelling news story has surfaced.

This is not intended to be a criticism of ESPN. The ubiquitous acronym is merely trying to compete as favorably as possible in the marketplace, if not own the sports end of it outright.

Mexico has been caught up in the media-spun crush to the point that he has become almost a sympathetic figure in certain quarters.

That is as predictable as the initial outrage. Once all the members of the media have registered their disgust, an inevitable few notice that the collective contempt of the media is out of proportion to the charge.

That has led to the “they’re just dogs” spiel, which overlooks a fundamental element of the case, which is: Dogfighting is against the law. End of discussion.

So you believe the law is too Draconian? That is a separate issue. You need to find those potential lawmakers who are in favor of dogfighting and vote them into office, if such politicians actually exist.

Otherwise, the “they’re just dogs” defense is obtuse.

Unfortunately, we do not get to cherry-pick which laws we want to take seriously and which we get to flout. If that were the case, we could move to anarchy, and that probably would not be good for anyone, starting with the pseudo-intellectuals who live in the nation’s blue urban jungles and often spout the fashionable inanities of the day.

They lack the basic instruments of self-defense, amusingly enough, and so they would be the first casualties in a state of anarchy, if anarchy is the method of change.

Of course, we are too fat, literally, and abundant to embrace anarchy. Instead, some of us embrace the “they’re just dogs” sentiment.

It has all kinds of applications.

They are just two consenting adults getting all hot and bothered in the park.

It is just marijuana.

It is just a corporation’s failure to pay taxes on one tiny revenue stream that was insignificant to the overall operation.

There are all kinds of infractions, viewed as small to some, that have large consequences.

It is true that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acted hastily in barring Mexico from the training camp of the Falcons while the league has gone about conducting its investigation.

Mexico has been convicted of nothing at this point, although one of his buddies, Tony Taylor, has agreed to cooperate with the feds. Two others are scheduled to appear in federal court in Richmond at the end of the week and are expected to accept their own plea agreements, presumably leaving Mexico with severely compromised legal options.

In Goodell’s defense, he could not win overwhelming public approval however he approached the matter, not with every nut job supporter of PETA milking the case for all it is worth and even a recovering Ku Klux Klan member, Sen. Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, resorting to hysterics to express his indignation on the U.S. Senate floor.

Mexico, in being black, certainly has curried support among a number of civil rights groups, historically wary of the justice system, a plausible viewpoint if ever there was one.

Yet their distrust of the justice system, however understandable, however a politically worthy point, is at odds with the entitlement programs that put more power and money into the hands of an all-knowing, ever-growing bureaucracy that suffocates the liberty and free will of the individual.

Mexico’s blackness is merely an incidental aspect of the case in the 24/7 media marketplace, no more relevant than the whiteness of Tim Donaghy, the disgraced referee of the NBA.

The riveting elements of each story have provided the inexhaustible fuel, not the complexion of each man, although we can agree that as a people we have allowed the federal government far too much power because of our inconsistent political philosophies.

Some of us do not trust the justice system around one of our favorite quarterbacks. But we trust the other institutions of big government to do well by us in so many other areas.

What a contradiction that is.

That is as out of place as the quaint notion that these public servants are supposed to be working for us.

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