As I turn to various sources of news, it seems clear to me that there should be little wonder that increasing numbers of Americans would rather watch some other form of manufactured reality.

Let's see, a congressional debate about (fill in the blank) or a Jerry Springer rerun? One way or the other, the real issue is dysfunction, so which one is at least honest about that? No-brainer.

We trust Dr. Phil more than we trust our president - whether it's Obama or Bush. At least Jerry Springer reruns are funny on purpose.

Personally, I feel that my intelligence is insulted as much by the talking points coming out of the talking heads on the evening news as by the incessant blare of the carpet and used car ads that sponsor the programs.

The real issues are always behind the curtain. And it seems that the less substantive the story, the longer it hangs around. Maybe it's because news directors and public relations people know now that the only thing that really keeps people glued to the tube is bad weather.

How long have you been tired of the rehashing of the raid in Benghazi? If Bush had still been president, it would be the Democrats demanding "the truth" and resignations and accountability.

Maybe I'm too cynical - and I know generalities are odious - but I believe there is more interest in finding dirt than truth.

Truth is complicated. Dirt has a ready market.

The hearings, apparently, are over, but the posturing and sideshows are not. The findings are that the debacle could have been avoided; details as to how have been vague for the purpose of making it an issue in future elections.

Hillary Clinton's frustrated query, "What difference does it make now?" will be replayed so many times that you'll know it better than the current McDonald's jingle.

Another story that has more legs than a chicken farm - and just as much intellect - is that of the loss of privacy because of NSA's "spying" on Americans.

Is this a "Saturday Night Live" skit? We have a nation full of increasingly narcissistic people posting selfies on social media, "sexting" photos we think only one recipient will see, and photo-bombing - jumping into the background of every picture being taken - and they're worried about their privacy?

We have spies who sort through the detritus of human communication to see if they can find something that will tip us off before they fly planes into office buildings. Gee whiz, who knew?

Maybe I'm just precocious, but I had an inkling that we had spies sometime after my sixth birthday. I jumped to the conclusion that some of the games spies play might be less than Sunday School stuff when I saw my first James Bond movie. Some pretty good literature has been published about the covert world, too, if you like to read.

The real issue here is not NSA reading Americans' emails; it's about keeping the pot boiling to make political soup, and the media, particularly the cable news stations, love it. Helps fill the 24-7 news cycle thing, and the ads they can sell.

You want to talk about transparency from politicians and government? That will be another column, after this commercial message ... .

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