Many folks in the media have turned their attention to Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer. Unfortunately for her, this attention has been rather negative. In fact, the theme running through much of the media is that she suffered from a meltdown (or two). The first “meltdown” occurred during a debate and is captured in this video.
The second incident occurred when reporters tried to ask her questions. Their specific focus was on her remark about decapitated bodies in the desert of Arizona.
Since I am often accused of being blinded by my alleged liberal views, it might surprise some that I believe that the media is in error here. While I do not agree with Brewer on most matters, my own principles require that I come to her defense in this matter.
While I do agree that she handled the situations poorly, the media folks are engaged in hyperbole with their repeated used of the term “meltdown.” When I heard that she had a meltdown, I expected something that would, in fact, fit the term. Perhaps she had started screaming at her opponent or went into a wild frenzy. But, when I saw the video of the debate, all I saw was her losing her train of thought. True, it was a major loss, but hardly what I would consider a meltdown. While one would expect an experienced politician to be able to handle such a debate easily, there might be factors affecting her that we are not aware of or, perhaps, it was just one of those bad moments. Even though I have taught for years, I will sometimes loss my train of thought and literally draw a complete blank. While this might happen once a year, it has happened. I did not consider this a meltdown on my part, nor do I consider the governor’s situation a meltdown.
In regards to the second incident, she should have answered the question and addressed the concerns being raised. After all, she is running for office and owes the people an answer. There is also the practical matter-not answering makes her come across poorly.
However, not answering questions does not seem to qualify as a meltdown. Now, if she had screamed at the reporters or done a classic Sean Penn maneuver, then that would be a meltdown. As such, the use of the term in hyperbole.
This is not to say that the media should not have covered the story. However, more accurate terms should have been used and the story should receive the degree of coverage that it deserves (which is less than it is getting). The approach being taken now serves to lend credence to the claims that some folks in the media are biased.