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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current,  events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.

An ABC reporter already had queried Handleman’s boss, Jay Carney, about the costs of presidential golf, and now Handleman faced a vicious attack from Telemundo’s Doroteo Arango.

“What is it costing the taxpayers to transport and protect the Obama kids for a spring-break vacation at Paradise Island in the Bahamas?” he demanded.

“What is it costing the taxpayers to transport and protect the Obama kids for a spring-break vacation at Paradise Island in the Bahamas?” he demanded.

Handleman blanched.

“When are you people going to stop focusing on these minor expenditures, when the big issue, the cost of the sequester, is costing the poor and middle class millions of dollars?” she asked. “Besides, when the first family travels, they always use Priceline – or is it Kayak? Anyway, the president always looks for the cheapest accommodations.”

“How cheap?” Arango persisted. “Reports have them staying at the Atlantis Resort, one of the most expensive hotels in the world. Are the Obamas at least paying the for the rooms and meals?”

“Honestly!” sputtered Handleman, stamping her foot. “Doesn’t the first family deserve some privacy?”

There were murmurs of “nope,” “no” and “uh-uh” from the assembled journalists. A voice rose above the hubbub asking, “What about the White House tours?”

“That again?” said Handleman. “The tours themselves aren’t costly, but their Secret Service protection is. We have to make our cuts where they will have the least impact on the economy.”

“Why not cut something out of the Department of Education?” a reporter asked. And another chimed, “What about the National Endowment for the Arts?” Others shouted, “Why are you still hiring in a lot of departments?” and “How about conference travel?”

“We’ve explained this time and again,” said Handleman. “Cutting government jobs would exacerbate the unemployment problem. Hiring more government employees reduces the unemployment rate.

“So, you see, we shouldn’t ever lay off a government worker. And they work hard. Why, just the other day, I saw one carry a memo clear across the hall to his boss’ office, and another spent an entire month organizing a brain-storming session on how to be more productive. Several hundred people attended that conference, and I’m sure it resulted in a jump in efficiency.

“Of course, we had to fly everybody to Disney World to get them away from the distractions of the capital – money well spent.”

“So, you never ought to cut government?” said Arango.

“Never, never, never,” answered Handleman. “And as for first-family travel and vacations, if there were a first-family vacation, that would only serve to prime the economy, putting money into hotels, restaurants, transportation … ”

“If that’s the case,” said Arango, “why aren’t the Obama kids vacationing in the United States?”

Handleman stammered, “I … I can explain a foreign trip, though I’m not confirming there was a foreign trip. A U.S. vacation would be less safe, what with immigration releasing so many criminal detainees.”

The room dissolved in chaos as the press corps rose as one, demanding “facts,” “dollar figures” and “transparency!”

This is fantasy, of course. You’ll never see the pusillanimous Washington press corps rise up in indignation.


Fox News is not perfect: No news organization is. But I have some expertise in media and can say that among the broadcast and cable news outfits, it is the most balanced. For example, when the broadcast networks filter presidential pronouncements – with bulletins interspersing features on healthful snacks – Fox News shows the entire speech.

And Fox takes notice of details that escape other journalists. For example, it noted California lists convicted felons among the “disadvantaged workers” who must constitute 10 percent of the work force for the state’s $68 billion high-speed rail boondoggle. This puts criminals in the same category as union apprentices and military veterans, among others.

Next, in this Democratic Party-controlled state, watch a push for inmate voting rights.

 

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