You’ve heard the old adage that sex sells. But as we’re recognizing more and more often, sex wins elections.
Here’s the brutal truth: the American people seem far more interested in what happens in the bedroom than they do what happens on the battlefield. How else to explain the media’s fascination with CIA Director David Petraeus‘ steamy sex scandal, even as they ignore the ramifications for the investigation of four murdered Americans in Benghazi, Libya?
Two days after President Obama won re-election, Petraeus submitted his resignation letter to Obama, supposedly over an affair with biographer Paula Broadwell. The FBI had been investigating the affair; another four-star general had gotten tangentially entangled in the investigation. The story was juicy.
The story was also a smokescreen. The week after Petraeus resigned, he was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. It quickly emerged that he wouldn’t be setting foot inside the committee in the near future. That news followed on the heels of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s announcement that she had no intention of testifying before Congress — she’d be too busy sipping wine in Australia to discuss Ambassador Chris Stevens choking to death on soot and ash in a dingy building in Libya. As for Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, he’s been anything but forthcoming.
What do those three figures — Petraeus, Clinton, and Panetta — have in common? They’re all likely to be out of the administration within the next month. Petraeus has stepped down; Clinton is leaving; Panetta, rumor has it, will be replaced with former Winter Soldier Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), the ultimate slap in the face to American troops. When all three are gone, the link to Obama is gone, too. They can testify, certainly. But the blame rested on their shoulders. And Obama won’t have to fire them.
The media shows no interest in any of this, however. They’re far more interested in whether Petraeus enjoyed the company of Broadwell on the dunes of Kandahar, or whether he was shtupping a Florida friend of the family on the side. Sex sells. Benghazi doesn’t.
That simple fact rang true throughout the election cycle. When the media had a chance to cover Benghazi originally — when the administration lied day after day about a YouTube video being responsible for a terrorist attack and obfuscated the on-the-ground timeline — the media ignored the story completely. Instead, they covered the ill-articulated comments of Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock. Earlier in the election cycle, the media ignored President Obama’s attempt to stifle the religious freedoms of Catholics in favor of hubbub about Sandra “Pay For My Condoms” Fluke.
The media wanted to watch Mitt Romney burn, of course, and honed in on stories designed to emphasize his supposed sexism. But there’s more to it than that. The media is comprised of Baby Boomers and their kids. The Boomers were obsessed with sex in the 1960s — that’s why they tried to tear down all the major institutions of American life, some for good and some for ill. Today, the Boomers justify all sexual behavior as normal; they brought their children up to do the same.
Despite their live and let-live politics, though, the Baby Boomers and their kids still evidence a bizarre fascination with sex. That’s why they obsess about abortion and same-sex marriage. It’s why they were taken in by the Obama lie that Republicans would bar birth control. Sexual politics aren’t everything to the left-leaning Baby Boomers and their offspring; they’re the only thing.
So Benghazi doesn’t matter. But Petraeus’ sex habits do, even if we’re supposed to laugh at them and then claim they’re none of our business. The schizophrenia here boggles the mind.
But psychological dissonance never bothers the Baby Boomers and their kids. They’ve been living with it for too long. So the prurient will continue to beat the virtuous, both in media coverage and in elections.
Ben Shapiro is an attorney, a writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center. He is editor-at-large of Breitbart and author of the best-selling book “Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV.”