When I turned on my television this afternoon, CNN was presenting wall to wall coverage of the steroids in baseball hearings. Yawn. I’m not a baseball fan and overpaid jocks do nothing for me, but I love watching political theatre, so I confess to watching the hearings for a while. I don’t particularly want to discuss the steroids in baseball issue here. What I do want to focus on is one man’s well-covered chastisement of the MSM.

My favourite highlight was brought to my TV screen courtesy of Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

I’m Canadian and there are many US representatives I’m not familiar with. Bernie Sanders is one that I’ve never paid attention to. Well, he caught my attention today.

When he began to speak at the hearings, he first made a point to lecture the numerous media people there. A man after my own heart.

You can watch or listen to Rep. Sanders in action here, on C-SPAN. Just click on the “House Hearing on Steroid Use in Major League Baseball – Part 3 (03/17/2005)” and fast forward to approximately 2:47:46 on the recording.

Mr Chairman,

This morning, I was on a TV show, as I’m sure many members of this committee were, and I was asked by the interviewer whether I thought this committee was grandstanding, whether in fact, we were using the fame of these outstanding athletes to get our names in the paper and so forth and I said I didn’t think so because I thought this was a hugely important issue impacting millions of young people. And, that’s what I believe. But, I do want to say that I am overwhelmed by the kind of media attention that this has gotten.

I have counted dozens of TV cameras and I think some of the American people wonder, is this all we do, because this is what they see on television. So, I want to say to our media friends, that when some of us talk about the collapse of our health care system and millions of people not having any health insurance, come and join us. And we talk about the United States having the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world at a time when the rich are growing richer, come on down. Now, maybe we may have to bring great baseball players to help us talk about childhood poverty, I don’t know. I would hope not. I would hope we could have some of the great experts and I would hope you would come. But, to the American people, some of us are dealing with other issues as well.

You can visit Rep. Bernie Sanders web site and send him thanks as I have done. As I said, this congressman is new to me, but I see from the issues he writes about on his web site that he champions some causes that are vitally important to this liberal. I’ll be watching his moves from now on.

Thank you, Congressman Sanders, for using that well-publicized platform to remind the media about the truly important matters of the day. And, if you’re now accused of grandstanding for what you’ve done, so be it. We could use more such grandstanding in the future.

(cross-posted to Daily Kos…)

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