Last week, a former U.S. Speaker of the House was sentenced to 15 months in jail for covering up sex crimes related to his time as a wrestling coach. Over the past month, the scandal unfolded, culminated and passed out of the public eye with astounding speed.
It was as if a withered old man named Dennis Hastert had been busted for a tame blue-collar crime, but it was not as if one of the most powerful members of Congress in the 21st century had been exposed as a pederast.
Some sites catalogued outrage over a fellow Republican congressman who awkwardly announced his support for Hastert. Others wasted no time blasting “the media” for ignoring the story, arguing that Donald Trump speeches were earning more attention than Hastert’s sentencing.
A search of CriticalMention.org confirms that far more TV, radio and online news pieces mentioned Trump in April than Hastert, but the profile of the 2016 presidential race helps explain those numbers.
Still, Dennis Hastert also yielded far fewer mentions over the month than NBA star Steph Curry, according to Critical Mention.
While Curry played multiple games in the NBA playoffs in April, the Hastert story’s social impact on the fabric of America carries infinitely more weight — a stark and uncomfortable reminder that sexual abuse of children is rampant, from the pews of churches to highest levels of American government.
The Hastert story is sickening. In the end, the old bastard could not outrun the consequences of his actions, nor his inevitable legacy as a true American nightmare in every wretched sense. He deserves no compunction, but his sentencing certainly deserves coverage.
Accurate coverage, at that.
The website Mediaite noted how several publications jumped the gun on their Hastert sentencing coverage with inaccurate information. Buzzfeed, CNN, the Washington Examiner, Jezebel and others all tweeted that Hastert had received two years of supervised release.
Then, those publications and others ultimately clarified the judge’s full ruling, and Hastert’s 15 months eventually became a bone of confusion and contention.
How did a man the judge called a “serial child molester” receive only a year and a quarter behind bars? People from across the political spectrum are right to ask that and other questions.
But that’s only if they’ve heard about Hastert’s sentencing in the first place.
By the look of things, it may have passed much of the public by without raising many eyebrows.
Things we saw (and heard)
Ted Cruz desecrates classic movie scene by calling hoop a ‘basketball ring’ — Gawker.com
How police took $53,000 from a Christian band, an orphanage and a church — Washington Post
Tom Coburn says Senate should do its job and vote on Supreme Court nominee — Tulsa World
New believers bubble up at First Pastafarian Church of Norman — OUDaily.com
Property tax exemption helped lure Google — Tulsa World
In spat over cat, former Miami-Dade mayor charged with battery — Miami Herald
Quotes to note
Lucifer in the flesh. I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.
— Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on presidential candidate and Sen. Ted Cruz as quoted in the Stanford Daily, 4/28/16
Mr. Bates had a long career and was a successful businessman, and now he will be a convicted felon who’s going to the penitentiary. For the Harris family, they lost somebody they loved.
— Tulsa County assistant district attorney Kevin Gray to the Tulsa World after Robert Bates’ conviction in the killing of Eric Harris, 4/28/16
I think it’s bull—. I’ve been here for nine years and I requested some stuff after the game and I have to pay for it on my own. And the second he gets here he gets his own menu.
— OKC Thunder’s Kevin Durant to WSJ, jokingly referring to Enes Kanter’s “halal takeover”, 4/28/16
Oklahoma Standard ‘a myth’ by Jack Fowler
Rebuttal: Your Oklahoma Standard ‘myth’ is my blue sky by Lisha Dunlap
Watch OU’s Baker Mayfield prance around gracefully by William W. Savage III