About That North Korean Nuke Thing

Sotomayor coverage dwarfs news about Pyongyang's nuclear tests

By Sara K. Smith
|  Thursday, May 28, 2009  |  Updated 10:10 AM EDT
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About That North Korean Nuke Thing

North Korea's dear leader has been bumped from the American news cycle for a Latina supreme court candidate.

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Two very exciting bits of news greeted the American people early this week: on Monday we learned that North Korea was conducting nuclear tests, and on Tuesday we found out that President Obama had decided on a Supreme Court nominee.

One development has dominated coverage ever since. It's all over the radio and the newspapers! People who just last week knew nothing about this topic were suddenly on the cable TV news shows, offering up their very informed opinions. And no, they weren't talking about the possibility of a hostile and potentially unstable dictatorship demonstrating its nuclear prowess in advance of a possible transfer of power; they were talking about that lady who made some remark once about "wise Latinas."

The Obama media team is sort of brilliant, no?

We know from the history of the campaign that Obama is happy to sit on important announcements until there's a development in the news he wants to quash. Hence his unveiling of John Edwards' endorsement the day after Hillary Clinton won a landslide victory in West Virginia.

And now, instead of wondering whether a bunch of nutballs across the Pacific are going to panic and start nuking their neighbors once their dear leader dies, we can wonder if it's a nice thing or a bad thing that Sonia Sotomayor got nominated to the Supreme Court.

Future presidents, let this be a lesson to you: if you want to divert people's attention from an actual scary thing to a pretend scary thing, just make a decision that forces Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh to start shouting about reverse racism. Works every time.

Judicial scholar and West Virginia expert Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.

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