If the Olympics were not occurring, news of a budget deal by Congress to extend the functioning of the federal government for another six months likely would lead the news. Or, perhaps news that some Libya rebels had relocated to Syria. Or that the Supreme Court has been asked to review California’s gay marriage ban.
The Olympics carry little importance, other than to the people who attend the Games or watch them on TV. Even then, the results of the events mean almost nothing compared to most other important daily news, even if it is just a child who has gone missing. The results of most Olympic competitions will be forgotten in a week. But among the coverage of Michael Phelps’s 19-medal record and the victories of the American gymnastics team, the news about the victory of Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz in the Texas Republican Senate primary was buried. If he eventually wins the general election, it could change the balance of the political parties in the Senate and might alter which legislation is approved over the next six years and which is not.
The top story at ABC News’s online site this morning was “Great Olympic Parent Moments: Hugs, Tears, Fears.” At the start of the coverage, ABC’s producers picked this:
Mothers of Olympic athletes have been queens of the camera cutaways, with television cameras catching them in moments of amped-up anxiety. The standard shot used to be a brief glimpse of Mom with her hands on her face or Dad looking tense, but that has been replaced by drawn-out play-by-plays of parents screaming, crying, cheering and covering their eyes while watching their child compete from the stands.
Well down the page was this: “Sharp Decline in Terror Attacks After Bin Laden Death.”
The number of worldwide terror attacks fell to 10,283 last year, down from 11,641 in 2010 and the lowest since 2005, the State Department reported today.
What’s made the difference? The State Department cites the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda members killed last year including Atiyah Abd al-Rahman and Anwar al-Awlaki, who was the head of Yemen’s Al Qaeda affiliate and had ties to the underwear bomber plot in 2010.
Mom is worried. Her son may only get a Bronze.
Douglas A. McIntyre