I’m not what you could classify as news junkie; far from it, in fact. I try to keep up with what might reasonably be expected of a responsible, tax-paying adult in America but most often, I have only a basic grasp of the facts. Even then, news stories fight for space with the other topics that crowd my mind daily. And I’m not ashamed to admit that often these include such important ideas as: why do I even imagine I’ll wear shorts in public every summer, why don’t my boys understand the benefits of hanging up a damp towel, and how will I ever be able to sneak a handful of Sun Chips again if I have to open that compostable bag in the cabinet? (That last one is obviously related to the first.)
Yes, I do manage to read and think about other things, too: the oil rig deaths and resulting environmental tragedy in the Gulf community, the ongoing financial malfeasance among the banking and investment community, and the unemployment numbers that continue to rise in every community. As I’ve mentioned here before, I also read stories everyday that remind me that our national pastime seems to have become assigning blame.
But honestly, even real news junkies must feel like they’re living in some kind of opposite world. How else do you explain something like the following headline on Gawker: “Rod Blagojevich Will Tweet During His Corruption Trial, Naturally.” Let’s briefly recap the charges made against the former governor: 24 counts including racketeering, wire fraud, attempted extortion and bribery. (I may have missed a few.) He claims he did not attempt to sell or otherwise trade the Illinois Senate seat that opened up when President Obama was elected to The White House. Blagojevich has also been charged with running his administration for profit, with plans to distribute the money to his advisors and fundraisers. No biggie, right?
We shouldn’t be surprised. Blago already wrote the requisite ‘newsmaker of the month’ book; his loyal wife Patti appeared as a contestant on “I’m a Celebrity; Get Me Out of Here!” and he himself joined the cast of “Celebrity Apprentice” last season. It’s not really much of a leap to imagine him tweeting throughout the trial.
On May 31, @governorrod’s Twitter feed read: “Please follow on Twitter for the latest updates. I am innocent and look forward to clearing my name.” Then there was this cliffhanger, from June 2: “jury selection at 11 am tomorrow.” On June 3, he posted: “looking forward to the start of the trial.” Turns out, the tweets are being posted by Glenn Selig, Blagojevich’s publicist, and well worth the money I’d say. Compelling. Fascinating. Convincing. In opposite world, maybe.
It’s difficult to know if Twitter and the courtroom-based tweets will have any impact, real or imagined, on the trial, its coverage or the governor’s public persona. Twitter remains a bit of a mystery to me, despite the fact that even I post a tweet from time to time, mostly when columns appear online.
Then again, maybe tweeting on behalf of Governor Rod shouldn’t surprise us. Consider that different people have tweeted about the following: having a miscarriage during a board meeting, uterine contractions coming three minutes apart, tasting your own breast milk and, my personal winner of the New Low in Tweeting Award, Angie Jackson, who tweeted throughout her abortion a few months ago. She took RU-486 to end her pregnancy in its early stages and her tweets informed and educated those who wanted to learn from her. Her YouTube video explained her situation; her tweets documented her solution, and people everywhere could bear witness to her abortion. You can find more of Angie’s twitter wisdom at @antitheistangie. Yes, that would be anti-theist angie.
I know: it’s called free speech. Got it. But here’s a tip for Governorrod: see what you’re up against? Keep posting tweets like “looking forward to the start of the trial” and see where that gets you.