By Robert Mann
A distressing event unfolded last weekend as the national political press was busy freaking out over Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia and her labeling half of Donald Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.”
In the cascade of this and other political news, you might have missed the troubling report that North Korea detonated a large nuclear bomb, its fifth since 2006 and its second explosion this year. Worse, a top advisor to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un reportedly told a Japanese lawmaker that the communist regime’s burgeoning nuclear program is aimed at the United States.
Please don’t feel bad if you overlooked this important development. Our TV journalists have been terribly busy interviewing medical professionals about respiratory diseases and moderating cooking segments. Surely you don’t expect the host of a morning news show to explain the threat of nuclear war when he must address the more urgent task of reviewing Rick Perry’s latest moves on “Dancing With the Stars”?
There are vapid horserace questions to ponder and Machiavellian political stratagems to dissect. The TV executives know there’s no joy in exploring nuclear proliferation when their hosts can instead discuss Trump’s latest insulting tweet and the intricacies of a new poll from Iowa and why it might be devastating news for Hillary Clinton.
Political journalists have a well-known, severe allergy to policy reporting. This is one reason why they feed us a surfeit of lazy, superficial political analysis from vapid “strategists” who know the Electoral College map cold but couldn’t tell you the difference between Aleppo and Alpo. God forbid the networks and major newspapers give us more information and insights about what the candidates might do if elected. Boring!
Nothing brought home the danger of this lazy coverage more than the failure of reporters to demand from Clinton and Trump a strategy to prevent North Korea from building missiles, tipped with nuclear warheads, that it might use to blackmail South Korea, Japan or the United States.
While North Korea isn’t close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile that would threaten the continental United States, The New York Times reports that “leaders of two government-run research institutes in Seoul have recently said that they believed North Korea was now able to mount a nuclear warhead on a short-range Scud or medium-range Rodong missile.”
If that doesn’t jar the talking heads out of their silly obsession with poll numbers and campaign spots, perhaps nothing ever will. We need to know, and soon, what the two candidates propose to do about a dangerous regime that could make Iran appear tame and reasonable by comparison. The next president could confront the most serious international nuclear confrontation since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
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