The Pope, Carnival, Dorner, Hagel & Rubio's big gulp

It was a busy week for breaking news, but the media thought that Marco Rubio taking a drink of water was the most important story. Photo: Dorner, Hagel, Pope Benedict XVI, Carnival and Rubio

CHARLOTTEFebruary 15, 2013 – What a week. News was breaking so fast it was practically impossible to keep up.

Pope Benedict XVI led things off with his surprising announcement that he would become the first pope in nearly 600 years to abdicate his position. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in the year 1415. At 85-years of age, Benedict, the 265th pope in the history of the Catholic Church, opted to step down in order to spend the remainder of his days writing and praying.

It was a major news event, but in a 24-hour cycle it wasn’t long before another story, and a cruise ship, broke. The Carnival Triumph, with a capacity of approximately 4,000 passengers and crew, suffered an engine room fire that left it stranded adrift in the Gulf of Mexico.

After five days, the ship finally docked in Mobile, Alabama early Friday morning. Despite reports that Carnival President and CEO, Gerry Cahill, was seen at a Miami Heat basketball game while the ship was disabled, a surprising number of passengers took the problem in stride and said they were ready to book again.

Carnival continued to broadcast its “fun ships” commercials nationally throughout the ordeal.

Another on-going story that captured media attention was a massive search for rogue ex-cop Christopher Dorner who killed four people, including two police officers. The largest manhunt in California history came to a fiery conclusion when the LAPD gave new meaning to Ash Wednesday by burning the cabin at Big Bear Mountain where Dorner had taken refuge.

After the cabin was engulfed in flames, Dorner apparently committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

By early Thursday evening, the news changed again when Senate Republicans voted to stall the nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. Hagel gave a woeful performance during his confirmation hearing, but more significant is the Republican’s desire to obtain more details about the September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The unprecedented move caused Sean Hannity of FOX News to call it a major defeat for President Obama when the reality was that it amounts to little more than one of the “bumps in the road” Obama alluded to when Benghazi took place.

Most observers believe Hagel will be confirmed when the nomination eventually comes to a vote, though his lack of knowledge regarding foreign policy presents major concerns about his qualifications for the position.

On Friday morning, Chelyabinsk in central Russia was rocked by the surprise explosion of a meteor that left estimates of up to 1,000 people injured. The blast came on a day when an asteroid was expected to pass within 17,000 miles of earth.

Other breaking news that might have been widely reported in any other week, received less coverage than normal due to the myriad of events that captured the interest of the media.

On Tuesday, North Korea defied U.N. resolutions by conducting its third nuclear test. Even North Korea’s only major ally, China, condemned the test.

Double amputee Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic athlete known as “Blade Runner”, was charged in South Africa for the pre-meditated murder of his girlfriend.

Sequestration, usually a subject of particular political interest, took a back seat to the diversity of other events in the news.

President Obama made his much anticipated fifth State of the Union address and the first of his second term. The all-talk, little-action president said nothing new, reiterating tired goals that make for good rhetoric but not much else.

With all of those events dominating a frenzied week of activity, none could compare, however, with the controversy that occurred about 10 pm Tuesday when Senator Marco Rubio took a sip of water.

The devastating demonstration by Rubio happened while he was giving the Republican rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union, and it was clearly the story of the week, requiring the highest priority of media attention.

CNN reported it as a possible career ender. Some networks replayed the incident more than 150 times, breaking the Super Bowl record for reviews of controversial plays.

Lost in Rubio’s unnerving effort to quench his thirst, was his message to counter the repetitive agenda of the president.

In a week filled with enough drama to satisfy any news junkie, it was gratifying to learn that our media went to incredible untiring investigative research to inform their viewing public that U.S. senators sometimes need a drink of water.

Contact Bob at  <ahref=””>Google+</a>

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in CharlotteNCTaylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to SwitzerlandFrance and Italy for groups of 12 or more.

Inquiries for groups can be made at Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.

As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 71 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.



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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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