Time Magazine Gets it Very Wrong

traficantThe name James Traficant may not ring a bell, but his photo might; he’s the former congressman whose preposterous hairpiece made him look like he was wearing a squirrel or other small furry animal on his head.

Traficant represented the Youngstown, Ohio area in Congress for seventeen years. He might’ve stayed longer but he was thrown out of Congress after he was convicted of taking bribes, filing false tax returns, and forcing his aides to perform chores at his farm in Ohio and on his house boat in Washington, D.C. Even if Congress hadn’t expelled him it would have been impractical for him to continue serving because a judge awarded him a seven-year, all-expenses-paid vacation in a federal prison.

Traficant died recently after an accident on his farm, and it would be a cheap joke to suggest that maybe his toupee got caught in a thresher. The really cheap joke is that instead of ignoring his passing or publishing a straightforward obituary, Time magazine decided to invite one of Traficant’s congressional colleagues to write a brief piece about his old friend.

traficant2But not any old former congressional colleague: it chose former congressman Bob Ney, a fellow member of the congressional felon club. Ney earned that unenviable distinction by being the only member of Congress convicted of a crime in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. In his “appreciation,” Ney offers a passing reference to his old pal’s crimes and expulsion from the House but then extols his virtues, devoting most of his remembrance to a few of the issues Traficant focused on while in Congress and on some of his behavior that Ney found charming but that most people would find bizarre – things like putting visitors to his congressional office in headlocks and his final words on the floor of the House: “Beam me up, Mr. Speaker.”

The Curmudgeon is hard-pressed to understand why Time would ask a convicted felon who, as an elected official, betrayed the public’s trust for his own financial gain to say a few final words about another elected official who betrayed the public’s trust for his own financial gain. When a magazine exercises incredibly poor judgment like this, it makes you wonder about the kind of judgment that goes into everything else on its pages.



Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: